A Little Lost, A Little Found Just for Fun

The Nomad’s Book Club

Last week I was struck by this thought….

There’s got to be other ‘nomadic’ women (girl-mad, anyone?) out there with extra time on their hands who get a little bored and a little lonely like me. What if we could gather digitally and commune over a shared love of reading?

So, I asked around and about 10 women actually agreed to join my group!

My plan is to hold weekly meetings and while the membership is small, I will be inviting them to participate live in the discussion. My hope is that it will provide each of us with a meaningful social connection.

In the long run, I’d love for this to turn into a membership site providing connection to all sorts of location independent female workers. Right now, we have a few digital nomads with us and a few travel nurse spouses like me.

Our first book we will read is called, The Huntress by Kate Quinn. If you’re someone who gets a little bored and would like to join click here! Have you been in an online book club? What did you like or dislike? I’d love some ideas. In the mean time, I’ll bring some updates about our thoughts on the book!

Until next time,


A Little Lost, A Little Found van build

Consciously Incompetent

When starting a new project, there are several levels of competencies:

Unconscious Incompetence – you don’t know if you’re capable or not, you don’t know where the gaps are in your knowledge. The problem here is that you might not recognize your mistakes. If you’re a person filled with false pride…then this can be a dangerous place to be!

Conscious Incompetence – a humbled place where you recognize, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” This is the place where Ivan started as he jumped into the van build. He pursued the knowledge of others and tried to absorb and apply the things he learned.

Conscious Competence – you’re now able to do the things that seemed impossible, but you still need help and you still need to consciously think through each step you take. Ivan is getting closer to this conscious competence regarding the van build. He has built up experience with plumbing, carpentry, and wiring – but he still needs to tread carefully.

Unconscious Competence – now you’ve arrived! If you can hop on a bicycle and peddle away without second thought, you have unconscious competence. The training has been internalized and you can proceed unconsciously, without making mistakes.

As we began the van build in a state of Conscious Incompetence – Ivan purchase blueprints from Trent & Allie. He proceeded with caution, made some mistakes and fixed them, and planned to follow the blueprints exactly.

However, now that he’s been in the van almost everyday for about 3 months, he’s starting to recognize where he can step away from the blueprints and make his own decision.

Not to be too sappy here – but, it’s a little like that transition from teenager to adult. Day by day, you start recognizing “Oh, I can make this decision myself instead of copying my parents.” Comedian Christina Patsziski referst to this as the “Patsziski Effect”.

Example: Why do I keep moving my dang charging cable around the house, when I could just buy another one?

Or: Hm, nothing is stopping me from buying and eating Pop Tarts for dinner.

In our case: Well, maybe we don’t need a closet here – maybe we want more counter space.

The van really started to feel like our van build when we decided to change the original layout from Trent & Allie’s design. We will now have 1) no closet, but more countertop; 2) a L-shaped couch instead of 2 facing seats; 3) a semi-convertible bed; 4) a sliding pantry inspired by Tio Aventura.

I’m excited about the bed we are doing! It took Ivan quite a bit of puzzling to tease it out into a plan. Half of the bed will be mobile – it will pull out and in. We will attach a harness to the mattress so that when it scoots it, the mattress slides up the wall and becomes a back cushion for sitting.

slide the arrows to see this pushed in/pulled out frame

This bed change allows for extra seating under the bed – hence, the L-shaped couch. The L-shaped couch was inspired, because it helps us maneuver around the inverter and wiring that was set up prior to these changes.

Being able to have the freedom and confidence to say, “I’m doing something different.” makes me feel like we really are part of Van-iverse. There’s nothing wrong with the original design, but it now feels like our van will have more of our personality.

Have you experienced that transition from (Un)Conscious Incompetence to (Un)Conscious Competence? If so, please comment and share!

Until next time,


A Little Lost, A Little Found Just for Fun

They’re not called ‘fur babies’ for nothin’

How do you know when you’re ready for a puppy or dog or any kind of pet? As an adult, I have not had the responsibility of pet ownership and the thought of having a little companion is quite rosy and sweet. Right now, she’s being a good little girl lying next to me on the couch.

Of course, she’s nothing like a human baby – I’m not falling for that. But, wow, is a puppy a lot of work. Between getting up in the middle of the night, keeping a corner eye on her at all times, and the constant wondering is she’s sad, bored, or content, I wonder how a person could do this with a full time job!

Yet, she’s so darn cute! Is it okay if we take a moment to ooh and ahh?

This is Frankie – she’s a girl and particularly adorable when she’s asleep in awkward poses.

I’ve spent a lot of time alone while traveling on nursing assignments. In Florida, Ivan worked 5 nights a week. He usually works 3-4 days a week. A nurse’s shift is often 12 hours long, 13 by the time you include shift change and commuting. Without kids or nearby friends, it’s gets lonely! I didn’t understand loneliness until we started travel nursing.

There are ways around it – go meet people, sit in coffee shops, go to church, sell things at craft fairs – these are things that definitely kept me busy and entertained. But, I’d still come back to the idea that it might be nice to have a furry friend too.

Let’s be honest – we didn’t overthink getting a dog, but we did take our time. I can already see she’s helping me stay active and she gives me just the right amount of stress to be mentally engaged during the day.

All that to say, she’s a lot of work – but good work and we love her so much!

How did you know when you were ready for a dog? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time!


A Little Lost, A Little Found

Grain Free Banana Bites

It’s SO hard to find easy, grain free recipes. Here’s one that I loved!I found this recipe at Power Hungry – so you can check out her thoughts and variations as you please!

But here I include my instructions for using the air fryer. Quick Tip – with this recipe, it’s okay for the cookies to be undercooked! Test your air fryer and build up the minutes to get to your perfect flavor.

Let’s get to it:

How to Make It

  1. Mix almond flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
  2. Mash the banana into your measuring cup. Then, scoop it into a mixing bowl with the almond flour and baking powder.
  3. Blend ingredients. This part was a little tricky, I wasn’t sure how the dough would look. It begins very dry and seems like it won’t blend. However, with a fork and some effort it will blend nicely.
  4. I use a small cookie scoop and place the banana bites into the bottom of the air fryer basket.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. The edges will be golden brown. But, the inside will still be soft.
  6. If you enjoy a crunchier shell, bake at 350 for 8 minutes. The outside will be dark all around (on the verge of looking burned), but the inside will still be soft!

Want to keep this recipe and my other treats for yourself? Grab a copy here!


My favorite variation will always be adding in chocolate chips. I use Lily’s chocolate chips because they aren’t made with many ingredients, I can pronounce each ingredient, and there is no sugar. I’m fine with Stevia in my diet, as it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels.

At Power Hungry, she recommends sugar sprinkles, peanut butter imprints, cinnamon, and coconut as some great varieties. I haven’t tried them yet. If you have tried these flavors, please leave a comment about how it worked out!

Yum, Yum:

Now for the background. These are easy ingredients on the tummy, bananas are often recommended when a person in a Colitis flare is looking for easy foods. But, these treats are great for people in remission too! I’ve been in remission for 5 years and off medication for 9 months – so, I have to take my food very seriously.

Back to the baking – I thought these would somehow flatten out, like cookies. However, mine basically kept the same round shape they had going into the oven. At first, I was a little disappointed thinking I made a mistake (I doubled the recipe, so I probably did make a mistake somewhere). But! The little banana balls were so tasty and just the right pop of a snack.

We were heading out the door on a camping, so I placed them in a Ziploc bag and tried keeping them semi-flat in the trailer.

My husband isn’t usually too impressed with my grain free, sugar free treats, but he liked these! I mean, it’s a ripe banana – what’s not to like?

Final Note – The approach I take to my recipes are always with colitis/autoimmune disease in mind. It’s very difficult to find sugar free/grain free recipes, so I’m on the hunt to find and share them here!

Let me know how these turn out!



Grain Free Granola – in the Air Fryer

Now, here is a recipe for the parties, the planes, the movie theater, or the workday. Let’s jump right into the directions and you can read more about this recipe below. 

How to Make It:

  1. Start by mixing the dry ingredients in a bowl (exclude oil, nut butter, and vanilla). 

2. Then, in your air fryer basket (remove hot plate), drop in the coconut oil, the nut butter, and vanilla. I have a “Reheat” button on my device, so I turn that on and pre-heat the air fryer while simultaneously melting these ingredients. “Reheat” at 350 degrees for 1 minute – I press pause every 15-20 seconds and stir a little bit. I’m careful not to burn the nut butter.

3. Once it’s melted, mix in the dry ingredients. Blend everything well so that the nuts are coated. Replace the basket and set to 10 minutes. 

4. Be careful! A burned batch of granola is devastating – nuts ain’t cheap! I checked my batch after 5 minutes, then after 3 minutes, then the final 2. 10 minutes was perfect in my air fryer, any longer and the batch would’ve been burned. 

5. Take a couple test bites as you go to see how soft the almonds are. This 10 minute batch was with whole almonds, rather than slivered. Store in an airtight container or jar.

Want to keep this recipe and my other treats for yourself? Grab a copy here!


You can use slivered almonds instead. You can also play around with the nut mixture. Once you make a few batches, you’ll see that you can easily substitute or add other ingredients. I often throw in a handful of chia seeds, raw sunflower seeds (hulled), and/or hemp hearts without measuring exactly. 

Once you start adding or substituting, you’ll see how the liquid consistency can change. I’ve had runny and dry batches, I like them both – just something to keep in mind.

Also, the ingredient list includes Ground Flax – make sure you actually use ground flax. I bought seeds, thinking I was so great getting all this flax in my diet – but, you can digest the seeds and all the flax nutrients just run through your body. I’ve read online that ground flax can easily go rancid, so it’s been suggested that you buy seeds and ground it yourself. I haven’t done that yet, I probably should. Something to consider.

After baking, I’ve also mixed in chocolate chips for fun. I use Lily’s baking chips since they’re made with stevia (erythritol). 

Yum, Yum:

Now for the background. I have ulcerative colitis and small nut and food particles can be hard on the digestive tract, especially during a flare. This recipe might be better suited to you in remission, when you know those small ulcers have healed. Until you know who you respond to nuts, you’ll need to keep a journal of your side effects.

However, it’s full of great nutrients and healthy fats, and easier than other grain & dairy products. The plus side is that it’s also quickly filling! As long as you can handle the small particles like chia and nuts, this is a great guilt-free/don’t second-guess yourself type of snack. 

Yes, this is my actual batch! You can see it’s on the runnier side, but so tasty!

Final Note – The approach I take to my recipes are always with colitis/autoimmune disease in mind. It’s very difficult to find sugar free/grain free recipes, so I’m on the hunt to find and share them here!

A Little Lost, A Little Found recipes

Air Fried Cinnamon Apples

Let’s cut to the chase. You’re most likely not here for all the story and background, and if you are – you’re a saint, welcome! I pepper in the details of this recipe below. But first, here’s the nitty gritty details of the recipe:

How to make it

Apple1-2 whole
Cooking Oil (avocado, coconut, or olive)13/4 tbsp-ish
Cinnamon ‘Sugar’ Mixture (use swerve/stevia)to taste
Optional Toppings: honey, maple syrup
to taste
Time – 5 minutes prep, 10 minutes cook
  1. Cut 1-2 organic apples* (I tend to use Fuji’s & Gala’s) into wedges, about 1/4 inch thick. Preheat air fryer for 3 minutes with 3/4 tbs of coconut oil (or oil of choice). 

2. Then, place the apples in the basket and shake around so they are coated with the oil. 

3. Set air fryer to 325 degrees and bake for 10 minutes – or longer as needed. Check, shake, and toss occasionally. 

4. When they’re done to your liking, dump them in a bowl and sprinkle cinnamon over top. I like to pre-mix my cinnamon with a bit of Swerve for a little extra sweet taste.

5. The apples should come out warm and soft, this can vary with the amount of oil you use. Play around and see what you like best!

Want to keep this recipe and my other treats for yourself? Grab a copy here!


You can also play around different types of apples. Here’s a link to apple varieties and what is best for cooking (hint: red delicious is better raw). These would be tasty with honey, powdered sugar, or Trader Joe’s maple butter!

Yum, Yum:

Now for the background. I have ulcerative colitis and raw fruits and veggies can be hard on digestion (particularly during a flare). Applesauce is often recommended during a flare, because it’s soft and easy to digest. This recipe also has warm, soft apples, but the fructose content might still be inflammatory to you individually. Something to keep in mind.

This is an easy recipe for serving more than 1 person as each basket of apples can be easily shared between two people. I stayed away from apples for a long time because of the sugar content. I was focused on eating low carb. However, I learned that while apples have sugar that raises blood sugar, they also have a good load of fiber slowing down the sugar absorption process, meaning they have a low glycemic load. Apples are high in vitamin c, fiber, and antioxidants. We’re not accounting for how well each body absorbs those nutrients, but they’re there!.

*A note about organic apples. According to the Dirty Dozen List, apples are one of the most pesticide laden fruits. So, to try and minimize (hopefully avoid) the gut shredding chemicals, I’ve been buying organic apples. Organic vs non-organic might not concern you personally, but if you have a sensitive immune system (#autoimmunedisease) or sensitive gut (#ulcerativecolitis), I would encourage you to start buying organic when possible. It’s expensive, so I don’t always buy organic – but, I do commit to buying organic for the products on the Dirty Dozen list. I save the money and buy whatever is able for foods from the Clean 15 List.

Again, not an actual image of air fried apples, but you get the idea!

Final Note – The approach I take to my recipes are always with colitis/autoimmune disease in mind. It’s very difficult to find sugar free/grain free recipes, so I’m on the hunt to find and share them here!

van build

3 Things We Wish We Would’ve Checked Before Buying our ProMaster Van

We knew there would be unforeseen maintenance, but as amateurs at care buying, here are the three things I wish we would’ve checked first, because it might have given us a bit more negotiation leverage. Maybe, maybe not. 

A little background – these tips are personal to our buying experience as we shopped for a Ram ProMaster to convert into a tiny home. So, it was a bigger and more “industrial” purchase than a regular car.

It was pretty obvious the side door handle needed replacing, since the handle itself had been broken off. I did a quick Amazon search, thinking it might only be $50. In fact, the replacement part was $115. If we opted to have someone replace it for us, we were looking at a $200 ordeal. When settling on the price, we were able to get $500 knocked off. The salesman was pretty ready for that move and pulled out the, “This is the best price in the country on this type of van.” Which, was true. But, it’s still $18,000 coming out of our pocket.

Here are three more unforeseen problems, that we probably could have checked while at the lot.

  1. The Spare Tire – This is one I wouldn’t have thought about, unless someone mentioned it. How often is the spare tire flat? Actually, I don’t know. I don’t buy cars that often. But, repairing the spare tire cost us $183, rounding up to $200.
  1. The Headlights – These might be hard to check during the daytime, but try to get a close look at them. Are they scuffed and scratched? Does it look like some elbow grease will shine them up? We didn’t know it until our overnighter road trip how dim they were and not just because of the bulbs. Ours were pretty worn and needed replacing, which added up to $330. Whew! Who knew they’d be so pricey? If it’s obvious your desired car will need new headlights, do a quick Amazon search to get an estimate. 
  1. Brakes & Oil – ask the dealership when they last changed the brakes and oil. It may be standard practice, it may depend on the dealership. You might need new pads, or new calipers too. But, changing the brakes to make sure they were fresh and ready to go cost us $390.
Our brakes really weren’t terrible, and it gave Ivan something to do/learn while waiting for the weather to warm up.

All in all, the repairs we were responsible for added up to $1,000. We got a bit knocked off the price, could have negotiated another couple of hundred dollars if we knew to look for these three things? Maybe, maybe not. 

But, at least I will know for next time. (Hopefully, there’s not going to be a next time to soon!!)

Any other quick checks people should do when buying a car? Maybe ones that are less obvious than checking tire tread? Comment below. And, good luck on your next car purchase!



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2 ingredient banana pancake – in the Air Fryer

Let’s cut to the chase. You’re most likely not here for all the story and background, and if you are – you’re a saint, welcome! I pepper in the details of this recipe below. FYI – I used a Ninja Air Fryer. But first, here’s the nitty gritty details of the recipe:

How to make it

Banana1 whole
Eggs1 med or large
Cooking Oil (avocado, coconut, or olive)1/2 tbsp-ish
Optional Topping: honey, maple syrup, chocolate chips
to taste
Time – 5 minutes prep, 15 minutes cook
  1. The riper the banana, the sweeter the pancake! Plus, ripe bananas are easier to smush. Grab a bowl and a fork, cut out small chunks of banana into the bowl, so it’s easier to mash around. Press the fork into the banana and smash it a bit.

2. Then, add 1 egg and use the fork to blend the two ingredients well. If you’re using a banana on the green side, this might take a bit longer.

3. I haven’t been preheating my air fryer for the pancakes, but double check your own user manual. Preheating won’t hurt anything. Then, pour a splash of oil into the basket, just enough to roll around the bottom of the basket.

4. Set to 350 degrees. Remove tray and pour in banana mixture in the bottom. Run for 15 minutes. Check when there are 4/5 minutes remaining, if the edges are lifting then flip for the remaining time.

5. Time table is flexible, just keep an eye on it.

Want to keep this recipe and my other treats for yourself? Grab a copy here!


You can certainly make this on a pan on the stove top. That’s how I used to do it. However, I really had to watch the heat and I always ended up burning the pancake and the pan. The air fryer method is clean and quicker for me personally. If you make it on the stove top, melt butter into the pan and you should probably re-butter when you flip.

Yum, Yum:

Now for the background. I have ulcerative colitis and bananas & eggs are often recommended during a flare, because they’re easier to digest. Plus, this recipe has the benefit of the sweet banana taste – you don’t really need extra toppings to enjoy it. One drawback is that you pretty much make one at a time, so you could be baking one & eating one.

Final Note – The approach I take to my recipes are always with colitis/autoimmune disease in mind. It’s very difficult to find sugar free/grain free recipes, so I’m on the hunt to find and share them here!

Sorry – this isn’t a picture of the final product. Banana pancakes aren’t exactly photogenic, but they are delicious!

Happy eating!

Until next time,


A Little Lost, A Little Found van build

3 ways before/after photos are like magic

I fell prey to the magic of before and after photos. For months now, Ivan has been watching YouTube videos, reading articles, researching parts and plans. He’s been building an arsenal of knowledge about processes and products required for a van build. On the flip side, I’ve been browsing van builds as they come up in my Instagram feed. I started following a few van lifers (see below) and periodically read their happy, dreamy content. I didn’t realize I was succumbing to the magic of before and after photos until Ivan put his hands on the van and started cutting, drawing, sawing, and buying all sorts of equipment. For example, this week Ivan installed the solar panels and the air vents.  It took a couple of days, but the sense of accomplishment was palpable when Ivan finished. Hours and days go into the build, and then it can be summed up in a sentence or a 10 minute video – if only big projects could be actually be done that quickly. 

Ah, bare bones.
Look how fast it was to insulate! (not)

We know social media provides a distortion of reality, we know this deep down. If you’re like me, though, we let ourselves forget it in day-to-day scrolling and liking. So, I had this little idea that before/after photos act like magic tricks and here are three ways it reminds me of magic. Afterward, I’d love to hear (read) your own examples of social media magic!

  • It’s actually feels like waving a wand

The magical part of swiping, is that you literally wave your thumb and the magic happens! Look, it’s done! In the first picture, the project seemed daunting and huge. However, in less than a second the finished product is there before my eyes. Wow, it must have been a lot of work, but here it is. I love swiping back and forth between the images, it’s like undoing the magic and reapplying it instantaneously. The unfinished product won’t be there for long, because I can wave my magic wand (thumb) and voilà! It’s inspirational, it shows us these projects are doable, but it teases the mind like a delightful magic trick.

  • It skips the mental work

There are several days here and there where the productivity is invisible – meaning Ivan is thinking and planning. Each stage of the build requires fore knowledge of the next two or three stages. Before Ivan makes a move, he visualizes Ivan the carpentry, wiring, and plumbing. Some days he didn’t build or paint or saw anything. I’d find him walking around inside and outside the van with a furrow in his brow and arms crossed. The “thinking air” is almost palpable. At the end of the day, we’d talk a little. I would asked, “How did it go? What did you do?” to fire up a small conversation.

There’s a sense that “thinking a lot” isn’t productive, that it’s wasting precious time to get the build done. Swiping between a before/after image or watching fast-paced clips in a project video, skips the thinking time. And, thinking is absolutely critical! Without thinking, double-checking, replanning, trying different angles, there would certainly be mistakes – and this project is too permanent for mistakes. If you’re getting ready for a van build or project, it’s okay to take a day or two and just think. This is why Ivan is better suited to the building task than myself. I tend to jump in and figure things out along the way, I like the sense of discovery and learn through trial and error, although this process is often inefficient. 

  • It glosses over the beauty of physical labor

Even though the magic swipe piques interest, curiosity, and amusement – it glosses over the beauty of physical labor. You could purchase an RV that’s livable. You could purchase a van that’s already been converted. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I could easily be talked into it as long as we had enough money saved to use cash for it. Ivan and I even had a conversation along those lines. But, from watching the YouTuber’s he enjoys so much, he wanted the experience of building up the tiny home from scratch. It would be boring to see videos of someone sawing out a square in the side of a vehicle, but that’s what the van build is. YouTube videos show the hard labor involved, but even then it’s cut and shortened to accommodate our attention span. Admittedly, no one should be expected to watch someone else measure, remeasure, and cut. I’m just saying the magic of swiping cannot impart the beauty of physical labor being poured into a construction project. 

Prior to our own build, I’d see a video here or there and look through before/after images. While a person can appreciate the enormity of building projects, I certainly did not have any sense of the time involved. Swiping between photos gives the illusion of magical transformations. It’s not magic, it’s long, it occurs inch by inch and minute by minute.

I’m still going to swipe and like as much as I please, but now I have a greater appreciation for everything in between the photos – the sweat, stress, mistakes, and boring days of painting. I would not have understood the magic trick prior to owning a van – and that’s okay, it’s not a bad thing at all. But, now my curiosity is piqued. Are there any other delightful magic tricks you’ve noticed on social media?

Comment and share!

Talk soon,


Popular YouTubers – Eamon & Bec, Trent & Allie, Tio Aventura

Products to Shop – click here!

A Little Lost, A Little Found van build

Time to Move

We were laying down to sleep, upstairs in his parents’ unfinished attic, when I was overcome by sadness. “I miss our home,” I whispered. “Me too,” he replied. I felt lost.

When we were skipping around packing up the van with “just the essentials”, something in the back of my mind knew we were moving out – but my conscious self hadn’t accepted it. I didn’t let myself understand that, “We will be in Idaho for 2 months” actually meant, “We are moving out of this home.”

On the other hand, was it really home? Our landlords were nice enough, and just picky enough that I felt a regular reminder whispering, “You are a guest here.” So, while the apartment was comfortable, clean, and big, it wasn’t really our home. Despite the conflict of emotions, I still missed our nice little place in Farmington, Utah. Laying down to sleep that night, I realized I would need to set up a new routine yet again to manage my diet needs (and preferences).

We’ve been here about two weeks now. Ivan installed two back windows in the van. Yesterday, he cut some boards and drilled them in to essentially create studs for the walls. We get 4-5 Amazon packages almost every day, it feels like Christmas. There are moments where I’m excited for this next adventure, moments I regret not doing it sooner, and other times where I wonder if it’s going to be a good thing. 

I haven’t exactly been super helpful. Ivan has so far done the work himself, though I expect the tasks to gear up pretty soon. Everyone seems excited for us, curious and intrigued. No one has said anything critical or negative, which is nice. Even though we’ve received nothing but encouragement, I still anticipate some passive aggressive comment about our choices. It hasn’t happened yet, so why do I keep thinking it’s coming?

Lying in bed, missing our home that wasn’t really our home, I recognized that we are on the edge of a great adventure. I think part of my sadness came from the speed at which we left. The two months of missing Ivan dragged on and on, then suddenly he’s home, were driving home from Chicago with a brand new van, my current job becomes my former job, and we find ourselves living in another state.

Perhaps the sadness I felt in the night was more like the ache of goodbyes left unsaid – which, I’ll admit is weird to feel about an apartment. I think once we go “home”, finish emptying the apartment, slow down, and say, “Goodbye” I will be able to close the chapter of Rooted Life and open the chapter to Nomadic Life.

Have you gone through an exciting transition, then sadness took you by surprise? Maybe it’s a symptom of looking too far into the future, that you/I miss the present. Let me know your thoughts, I’m genuinely curious.