Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Iowa Corn | A lot to learn


Nine years ago, Zach brought me across the country to visit his grandparents at the farm. Since I hadn't yet been west of Tennessee, you can imagine my surprise as I observed the changes in the landscape. From the rolling hills of North Carolina, over the Appalachian Mountains (pronounced App-a-latch-un, if you're a native North Carolinian), across the breathtaking horse pastures of Kentucky, and into the Midwest where the sky stretches forever and the fields are filled with corn, soybeans, and windmills into the horizon. 

I remember being amazed as we made our way into Iowa. The sheer amount of corn had me in awe as we drove through "the land of opportunity."  The fields spread as far as I could see, and we drove past one farm after another. Can you imagine the shock when I found out that 99% off all of that corn wasn't for eating? I was seeing "field corn," which is not what you buy at the grocery to eat. I was quite stunned when I found out that only one percent of the corn grown in the US is sweet corn and grown for human consumption. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea I was eating "sweet corn"... we've always just called it corn. :) 

Can you tell I've had quite a bit to learn about Iowa and corn? Don't worry, Saint Olaf folks... I've got my kernels straight and know what's for dinner... SWEET CORN!

Well, I thought I had it all figured out, until I was recently gifted a few ears of popcorn from a neighbor. My generous neighbor has a friend who grows popcorn. That made me wonder, what category does popcorn fall under? Thanks to google search and some quick research, I found out: popcorn is yet another variety of corn that has a hard, moisture-resistant hull that surrounds a dense pocket of starch that will pop when heated, and it's a whole grain. So it isn't sweet corn or field corn. You can find more on this over at After reading their story, I'm going to have to try theirs next! 

Iowa Pop!

This was my first time making popcorn straight from the cob! Zach is the popcorn maker in our family, so I'll actually give him the credit.

If you're interested, our favorite popcorn tips are: the Warring Pro popcorn maker (which we got to have at our wedding reception 6 years ago), and coconut oil. I know what you're probably thinking, who really pulls out a big popcorn maker at home and where in the world do you store it? We do, and it's totally worth it! LOL! We love it and have used it regularly for six years. It's always a crowd pleaser, and after research, and trial and error, Zach has gotten our "movie theater popcorn" at home down to an art!

I'm not gonna lie, I've been on a popcorn binge for the last several months. It's fitting that I've finally learned something about it. 

I've also learned that though the kernels of some wild types will pop, the cultivated strain is 
Zea mays evertaand that there are actually two different varieties of popcorn: a fluffy "butterfly" variety and a sturdier variety called "mushroom popcorn" that is most often used for coating with flavorings. 

Do you have a favorite popcorn? Do you prefer movie theater pop or sweet caramel corn? I love them all! 

...And it turned out DELICIOUS!!
I'm looking forward to trying it again with different toppings!


Maybe I've piqued your interest in Iowa corn? Find more facts by visiting:

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe that it's been 2018 for over a WEEK! Have you been able to keep your resolutions so far? My resolution is a work in progress.

The first week of the new year meant our time in NC had come to an end, and it was time for our flight home to Saint Olaf. It doesn't get any easier saying goodbye to our family, but it was a blessing to spend so much quality time together over the last month. 

Here are some of the highlights from our time in NC:

Spending lots of time with Grandma and PawPaw!

Riding the old "rocking horse"

Playing with toys from my childhood

Exploring new cupboards

Playing games with Aunt Britt and Uncle Teurin (and getting to see their new house)!

Seeing friends ♥

Sleeping through the night (finally) after eating ice cream!

Having our last family gathering at Gima and Grandpa Herrmann's NC house -- it SOLD!

Meeting Emmajean's newest cousin 

and time with her slightly older, yet wiser, ones

Going to the Greensboro Children's Museum

Date nights, sappy Christmas movies, and cute PJs

Watching Emmajean enjoy her 2nd Christmas 

I may have been the most excited about the new doctor kit!

Turns out E likes to give shots... 

Loves Peppa Pig 

& can't get enough of her new super soft blankie!

Lazy days playing in the yard, yummy food, Boggle, and Mastermind

Baby girl playing the baby grand

Most importantly...spending time with family
We sure missed our Florida family!

and last, but definitely not least...
a smooth flight home!

Throughout the year, I pray you find peace and joy in the blessings of everyday life, no matter how big or small. I genuinely wish you a year filled with happiness, love, health, and adventure... and quality time with the ones you hold dear! 


Saturday, December 30, 2017

My New Year's Resolution | 2018

My New Year’s Resolution

2017 has been a pretty incredible year. It’s been filled with love, challenges, adventure, family, and lots of “firsts”! This time last year we were cheering on Emmajean as she learned to crawl, and it wasn’t long before she stood up, leaned forward, and took her first running steps… landing in her first face plant! She learned her first words, had her first birthday, and we took her on her first family beach trip. We’ve also learned a lot about ourselves and parenting.  We’ve learned just how sensitive her skin is, how well she can climb, how to kiss boo-boos, and how strong her determination is. Most recently, we’ve learned how to get her to sleep through the night!

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching our baby blossom and grow into toddlerhood.  We’ve felt our hearts grow bigger every day and understand the significance of all of those parenting clichés we’ve heard forever. Life will never be the same. Time flies in the blink of an eye. Sleep when baby sleeps. The days can be long, but the years are short. Baby brain is real. There’s nothing as strong as a mother’s love. Being a mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had, but definitely the most rewarding! It’s been funny to hear this stuff over and over and then actually live it. I see it all with new understanding and appreciation.

You’d think hearing the clichés and experiences from friends and loved ones would have helped prepare me for motherhood, but each day has been a learning experience.  Every child is different and you really cannot plan for everything and certainly can’t control life. I think I was probably least prepared for the fatigue, additional worry, and mental overload that comes with motherhood.

My mind is so quick to wander… did Emmajean eat enough, is she going to nap, is she climbing on her toy kitchen, am I a bad mom for letting her watch TV before she’s two? Did I e-mail my client back? I need to get to the grocery; what do I need from the grocery?  I need to clean the house and organize my desktop. Et cetera, et cetera! Random stuff leaps into my mind and takes no mercy on the person trying to converse with me. This is something I’ve always struggled with and it’s just heightened in the past year and a half. I literally inhale my food, run from errand to errand, and have trouble quieting my mind. Part of my struggle has been rushing everything to keep up, and when Emmajean’s with me, I’m always splitting my focus between the conversation at hand and her.

This year my New Year’s resolution is to slow down and focus on listening.

I know I’ll still be busy and some days I’ll be in a rush, but I’m going to consciously make an effort to slow down and listen. Now that Emmajean can listen and entertain herself better, I hope it will be easier for me to focus when I’m listening to someone when she’s with me, too. I know the loved ones in my life deserve a good listener and that’s what I really hope I can work on in 2018.  

To those of you who’ve experienced this with me first-hand, thanks for sticking with me and I hope to make it up to you in future conversations! (Starting with my husband! Thanks for being a good listener even when I’ve not been the best!)

What did you learn about yourself in 2017? 
Do you have a new year’s resolution? 
I’ll also be working on the typical resolution to eat better and exercise more, too. 

Happy New Year!!
We're looking forward to all of the fun and memories made in 2018! 

Here are some of my favorite images to look back on from 2017. #emmajean #timeflies #shesnotababyanymore! 


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Nostalgia washes over me at Christmastime. I absolutely love carrying on (and creating) family traditions. I smile at the memory of my grandmother singing happy birthday to Jesus as the blessing before our Christmas dinner, at the thought of my dad eagerly taking us last minute shopping for a Christmas gift he would let us have early, at singing carols, at waking up at 5 am to run see what Santa left unwrapped by our beautiful tree. I'm smiling extra this year reliving this magical time with our little one. 

It's truly a wonderful time of year! 

We're enjoying spending extra time with our family and taking a break from our typical routine. We're looking forward to opening presents with Emmajean, church services filled with song, baking, Christmas dinner, and admiring all of the sparkles and lights. 

With all of the excitement, it's important to remember the real reason for celebration. It's not just a time for cookies and Santa hats...Christmas is a time for gathering, for reflection, for giving, for prayer and for thanksgiving. I'll be saying an extra prayer for health, peace, prosperity, and love for my friends and family who may be struggling this holiday season. Today and everyday, no matter the struggle, I pray for hope and courage, for faith and relief. 

Merry Christmas to all of our family and friends! 
Wishing you a joyful holiday weekend from Saint Olaf to NC and beyond! 

...Merry Christmas to all...

...and to all a good night!...

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Sailing into the New Year with a Sale

"Sunset Silhouette" 24"x36" original acrylic on canvas
I love the mood and movement in this
painting packed with contrast!
$600 -- Sale Price $400

For the last ten years I've shown paintings at various galleries, restaurants, offices, and other businesses throughout NC, and Iowa (and internationally with This week I visited one of my biggest supporters, a very special chiropractic office in NC. It's the last year I'll be showing my artwork at Dr. Herrmann's office in High Point, NC, because Grandpa Dave and Gima Dawn are moving to Iowa in the spring! With this exciting news, and Christmas around the corner, I thought it would be the perfect time to sail into the new year with a sale! 

The paintings on this post are available for the SALE PRICE through Jan 1st, 2018.Shipping is available within the US and I'll include it in the sale price though Jan 1st! Please private message me at: for inquiries and feel free to comment below. 

"Sunset Silhouette" - Side View

"Love on the Horizon" 20"x16" original acrylic on canvas with frame.
Enjoy this highly textured vibrant
painting in your home or office.
Sale Price $200

Thanks for stopping in! Best wishes for smooth sailing and happy holidays ahead!