What's In My Bag . . .

>> Friday, May 27, 2011

Several years ago, I used to follow this Flickr group called "What's in Your Bag?" And since I don't normally do totally random posts like this, I thought the holiday weekend was opportunity for some fun.

(And, yeah, I threw out several LOTS of receipts before taking these photos. So, I'm not really this tidy.)


Interesting how neatly all my stuff fell onto the floor, isn't it? Alright, enough joking around. I see something already that completely surprises me.

Who needs three lip glosses at all times?

I do, apparently. Along with a mini-book about sheds from Home Depot. And a $10 off coupon for Dick's Sporting Goods, in case the mood strikes and I just HAVE to buy some new workout gear.

And, no. I don't have a fancy cell phone. Nor do I ever care to get one.

We've also got last week's grocery list (most items crossed out, wahoo!) -- written on the back of a chocolate bar wrapper. Some headache balm made by Badger (because I've been getting crazy pregnancy-related headaches and want to steer clear from Tylenol, etc.).

Applesauce, an apple, the pretzels left over from my Chex Mix craving. A camera cord (so I could upload the photos). And I don't have a close-up, but I'm reading Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life again.

What's in YOUR bag right now? And headache-sufferers: Any advice on drug-free relief from headaches? I can sleep 'em off . . . and I'm well hydrated. Just wondering if I'm missing something!

Today on (never home)maker, baby!, I posted more about our house selling adventure and how I'm learning to love losing control over the little things in life.

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Easy-Peasy Potato Curry

>> Thursday, May 26, 2011

Remember our garden project? The sad patch of rocky soil that looked more like a pit than a potential home to healthy veggies and herbs?

Well, I'm excited to say it went from looking like this:

To looking like this!

Hahaha. OK. That was a REALLY lazy attempt to trick you. We didn't get to working on the garden last weekend. We had all the best intentions to. Saturday afternoon turned out beautifully sunny. But we had movie plans with some friends. By the time we got out of the theater, it was POURING. Strike! Then on Sunday, it was iffy on and off all day.

This weekend doesn't look promising as it's my high school reunion. (10 years!) I have Monday off for the holiday weekend, though. So, we'll see if we can squeeze garden time in there somewhere. We need to get those herbs homes -- and fast!

You guys gave us some great ideas for things to plant, like:
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini and other squashes
  • Green Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Etc.
We're also looking forward to learning some preserving processes. Like canning and freezing (it seems to me like freezing should be a no-brainer, but somehow we destroy our foods with freezer burn). Anything to gain at least a little independence from the grocery store. Plus, there's just something awesome about growing your own!

Speaking of freezer-eats, our dinner last night made use of bulk potatoes and onions AND frozen peas and cauliflower. It wasn't a 10 meals for $10 kind of masterpiece like our veggie lasagna (which, truth be told, lasted only three nights), but it served as one big meal for Stephen and dinner and today's lunch for me.


What you'll need . . .
  • 2 cups chopped waxy potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 to 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • 2 cups frozen cauliflower
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 can vegetable broth, low sodium
  • 3 to 4 tomatoes, skinned and quartered (I bet canned would work, too

Method . . .
  1. In a large pan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the potatoes and onions. Cook for several minutes -- until onions are soft.
  2. Add the garam masala and curry powder. Stir until well coated. Take your minced ginger and squeeze it well so just the juices make it to the pan. Then toss in the crushed garlic (I used the side of my knife to give each clove a good press).
  3. Then toss in the frozen veggies, tomato quarters, and broth. Bring to a boil, then drop to a simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Serve with 3-hour naan, 5-minute naan, or rice.

And if you're in the mood for dessert -- pregnant or not, you'll love this egg-less (so, SAFE), vegan cookie dough recipe over on (never home)maker, baby! Today's post is all about cravings, which -- for me -- have started early in my 13th week.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!


Running and Pregnancy: Part I

>> Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm trying to keep most of the pregnancy-related posts over at (never home)maker, baby! -- but this one is too running/fitness-oriented to leave off the main site. Running while pregnant has meant learning to run all over again. It's been physically and mentally challenging and frustrating. It's been surprising and, at times, empowering. Most of all, it's been relaxing and fun.

Before I was pregnant, I was running about 30 miles a week. I was training to race the half marathon in around 1:42:00. So, I'd say, for me, I was in good shape. My long runs averaged between 10 and 12 miles. My pace was strong and steady -- between 7:30 and 8:30 most days.

When we saw the second line on the pregnancy test, one of the first things I did was head out on a run. I needed some time to think. To be alone. And running is perfect for that. But as I set my foot to the pavement, I noticed a HUGE difference almost immediately: I was running . . . yes . . . but my pace was ssslow. Even more strange, I didn't care about being slower. At all.

It seems I made an almost unconscious decision upon learning about our little one that I wanted to focus on my baby versus my running goals. This decision isn't for everyone, and I know many women continue to run at good clips during their pregnancies, but -- for me -- taking it easy felt like the natural thing to do.

Even more interesting were the weeks following, where I started to relax more about slow versus fast . . . but began to actually FEEL physically different, necessitating some changes.

1.) My heart rate rises . . . quickly. And to higher numbers than before-pregnancy. Even on an easy jog, I'd easily get up to 150 to 160 BPM. I felt out of breath and like I needed to slow down and take a quick walk break.

There are a number of recommendations for what is a safe level. I've seen as low as 120 BPM. I've read that perceived exertion is way more important, so as long as you can carry a conversation, you're OK. I've read that you can go as high as you want. And the more generally accepted number is between 140 and 150 BPM.

2.) My body (legs, muscles, etc.) feels unchallenged. Though I haven't been timing most of my training runs, I think I'm running paces in the 9-minute range. OK. I even think on long runs when it's warmer, I verge near 10. That's a minute to a minute and a half (or more) slower than usual for me. My body was used to a more demanding schedule.

What's difficult is that my leg muscles and my lungs/heart are at odds. I go for runs -- pretty much all at the same pace -- and feel held back. Yet, I'm out of breath. I continually feel like I want, no, NEED to go faster for sanity . . . but then I catch myself unable to say a full sentence and force a slower plodding.

3.) Recovery takes longer. Though my muscles don't feel the stress, my general energy level is lower. I started at 5 runs per week, then 4, then sometimes only 3. I mixed walking in to make sure I was still moving. I don't necessarily think the tiredness had much to do with the running, just the typical 1st trimester exhaustion (and more than occasional "morning" sickness).

Now I'm feeling much more awake. I'm planning to try and maintain a 4-run-per-week schedule. But I play it by ear. If I'm feeling tired, a brisk walk can be just as satisfying. Sometimes being outdoors in any way is more of what I need than a jog around the neighborhood.

4.) Racing is frustrating. I've run in two 5Ks and one half marathon since finding out the news. The 5Ks, strangely, have both been completed in around 26:30. My usual finish time is closer to 23:00. I completed the half marathon in 2:09, which included 5 stops a porta-johns because I drank so much water. Running pace for that was more like 9:35 miles.

Here's a picture from my first 5K at around 7 weeks.

The second 5K was at around 10 weeks. Much hillier.

Then came the half marathon at 12 weeks.

I don't care about my race times. It's the act of racing that feels so different to me. I'm calm, comfortable, and just happy to participate in the events. I don't find myself wanting to push harder. I even think about my little passenger along the way. I thank him/her from time to time for joining me. Silly, I know. But I'm very happy to have continued running as far as I've been able to manage.

There's a lot more to write about this topic. But I wanted to get the basics out there. In coming weeks, I'll talk more about specifics -- as well as the many opinions I've received from others on running while pregnant (it's been interesting, for sure!). Right now, the baby weighs but a few ounces. I imagine I'll experience more changes as I grow bigger and less comfortable. I am fully ready to switch to lower-impact exercise as my body dictates (walking, swimming, or aqua jogging, anyone?), but will be sad to leave the sport behind, even if only temporarily.

Psssst: If you're interested, today's baby-related post on (never home)maker, baby! is all about my struggles with morning sickness. Joy!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!


10 meals for $10: Veggie Lasagna

>> Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Now that we've announced our big news (thanks so much for all your congrats!), you may better understand our desire to save money and improve upon our home. They're two of the central themes we had when we first started the blog, but they'll be out and proud from now until November (and beyond!).

One of the most obvious ways I can think of to save money is through lowering our grocery bill each week. Lately, we've been spending at least $80 for food weekly. That's up quite a bit from our old $50 goal. And now that I'm having less morning sickness, I think we can start pinching pennies again.

We've focused our energy on this pursuit before, so if you missed it, check out these posts:

So this week, we took some of our own advice. We sat down together for half an hour and planned out our meals for the week. We wrote down how much of which ingredients we would need. We thought about sensible, healthy breakfasts and lunches. Armed with this information, we headed to Sam's club.

OK. That's something new. We're trying out Sam's Club for 10 weeks on a special promotion they are running. 10 weeks for $10 -- and if you're interested, you have until June 5th to sign up. However, after walking the aisles that first day, I don't know if we'll extend our membership beyond the trial period. We scrutinized the prices of various goods and didn't see significant savings. And much of the food there is packaged -- stuff we don't typically munch on.

We left Sam's with a case of Chobani (at $1.00 per cup versus $1.19!), two LARGE jars of peanut butter, two loaves of wheat bread, big bags of onions and potatoes, and some lemonade (which is my current magical nausea cure).

The total was $51. Ack.

Onto Wegmans, where our list proved to be an excellent tool. At least at getting us in and out much faster than usual. We had some higher-ticket items we needed to purchase, like maple syrup and tahini -- so the total came to $75. However, this price also included some food for a weekend meal, which goes into another budget. We're going to track our food expenditures over a month versus on a week by week basis, because I think this week's haul will be significantly less. But we'll see!

Something new we're trying is making meals that last for several days. We started with this vegetable lasagna, which makes enough for 10 servings. I totaled all the ingredients we used in its creation and came up with $10. That's only $1.00 per serving, if we can spread it out over 5 days. So far, we're on day three and it's still tasting good, but getting somewhat boring. It is extremely nice to know when I go home that dinner is already prepared, though!


What you'll need . . .
  • 1 package whole wheat lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1 medium zucchini, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 2 lbs of ricotta cheese
  • Shredded mozzarella

Method . . .
  1. Cook the lasagna noodles to the package directions.
  2. While you wait for water to boil, pasta to cook -- prepare your veggies.
  3. Then saute the veggies on medium-high heat for 5 minutes (or until softened). Toss in the pasta sauce and cook for another couple minutes. Switch heat to low, cover, and keep warm.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. When pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water. Then in a 9 x 13 inch glass baking pan, spread 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom. Layer with 3 of the noodles (length-wise), and cover with a layer of ricotta. Then add another layer of noodles. Another layer of sauce. Another layer of noodles, etc.
  6. End your layers with a layer of the sauce/veggie mixture. Then top with some shredded mozzarella (however much you wish to use -- I think we used half a cup). And cover with foil.
  7. Cook for 45 minutes, until cheese and everything else is bubbly.
***Recipe is straight from the box of Ronzoni Healthy Harvest lasagna noodles. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Today on (never home)maker, baby! we talk all about how we found out about the pregnancy. It wasn't all hugs and kisses, I'll tell ya that much!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!



>> Monday, May 23, 2011

We just announced the winner of the OIKOS Super Fruits Giveaway. Be sure to check the post and see if it's you!

While we're on the topic of announcements. We have another one this afternoon. And it's a biggie!

I guess you could say we were dealing with more than we were letting on in our welcome back post. Of course, our news might help further explain our break. Now, I know baby stuff isn't for everyone, so if you'd like to read all the details -- we've created a brand spankin' new mini-site: (never home)maker, baby!

We invite you to check out today's post (the first of many more to come!), which is our farewell to the 1st trimester.

You may also check in from the main (never home)maker site by clicking this image:

Sooo . . . That's what's REALLY going on in our world. How about you? Any big things happening on right now? I know a lot of people graduated this weekend. Congrats! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!


When the Going Gets Tough, It Helps to Get Moving

My salvation these past several months has been my half marathon training. I changed up my routine quite a bit -- averaging 3 to 4 runs a week versus the usual 5 or 6. Long runs went to an every-other-weekend schedule versus the usual build, build, step-back method.

Overall, I was way more relaxed.

There were many reasons for the changes. Chief among them was my need for flexibility. The level of stress we had with our house on the market made e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g difficult. Keeping a very much lived-in house pristine while working outside the home is nearly impossible without going insane. Oh, yeah. And it’s hard to drop everything at dinner time for a showing. It’s even more grueling to watch the days come and go with no offers.

And that’s not even the half of it! Here are some ways I kept myself sane and active during this busy period. We all have situations from time to time that get in the way . . . but exercise can be a great coping mechanism.

#1: Treat workouts as treats. It’s natural to feel like fitting in a run or other activity is more work than play. But in times of stress and overbook-ed-ness, working out truly is time to clear your mind. It’s time free from other, more stressful obligations. Time to devote to your #1—yourself. And when you’re focused on everything and everyone else, remembering to take time for yourself is incredibly important.

#2: Focus on a goal. But this isn’t the time to pick something tricky. I wanted to run our local half marathon. Not PR. Not race. Just run it. Having an event to look forward to—without the added pressure of doing well—helped propel me forward when I didn’t feel like doing anything at all. Plus, it gave me something besides all the crazy stuff to think about. In a fond way!

#3: Be flexible. There will be days when you just don’t have time or required energy. Or when what’s going on it just too overwhelming. That’s more than OK. Consider shifting to a walk or other form of light movement. Change your workout from the morning to afternoon. Or afternoon to evening. Or Tuesday to Wednesday. Keep it loose and use your sessions more as therapy than conditioning.

#4: Value the short and sweet. I feel like I should write a book about the value of mini-workouts. Seriously. If you’d like to read more of what I have to say on this topic, go read the No Workout is Too Short or Slow post.

Sometimes I forget it, but we have a lot of great running resources on this site. We're hoping to build these up in the coming months, so any questions or possible topics are welcomed. Just visit our FAQ page for more information.

I'm especially hoping to get Stephen to author some posts related to increasing speed and attaining other goals. He's the master at that kind of stuff.

Happy running!

Psssst: We'll announce the winner to the Oikos Super Fruits Giveaway later today!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!


Random Friday

>> Friday, May 20, 2011

I've been running in Nike Free Run + for six months now. I gave them a try in the wake of my IT-band injury late last fall. Ever since, and due to a variety of methods and tweaks, my IT has been fine. Sigh. It's a true love story.

Hell, I even featured the left shoe in our banner image!

I'd need a new pair eventually. That was inevitable. And after last weekend's half marathon (in the rain and mud, mind you), I indulged. It wasn't that I absolutely needed them. The shoe's support is still great. However, I always wear the pair sans socks . . . and despite my efforts to wash them, they were pretty rank.

See the difference?

I'll continue to enthusiastically push the Nike Free Run + shoes. Interestingly, I'm partial to the older model, for which stock is dwindling on store shelves. I hunted around to find this pair so I could delay trying a new version a while longer.

I hate when shoes change. Even slightly. So, hopefully the new Nike Frees don't deviate from what I know and love. We'll see in 6 months.


Thanks for all your input on our kitchen redo post. Many of you gave us some amazing ideas, like checking out Habitat ReStores and other architectural salvage yards for deals on cabinets; utilizing open shelving to create the illusion of space, but with storage; moving our microwave to a shelf above the oven with a ventilation system; and browsing the Ikea website/stores for cheap, stylish stuff.

Others reminded us that it could be worse. Our kitchen isn't terribly small. Not everyone has a dishwasher. People who do don't always use theirs. And we should be thankful for what we do have. We wholeheartedly agree.

However, it was what Brookin shared that really got our minds rolling. She sent us this photo (from Apartment Therapy).

We can't believe how much this space reminds us of our own. It also represents the simple, no-frills style we'd like to go for. So, I spent a bit of time pricing out some unfinished cabinets (not that we're closing the door on gently used ones just yet), and it looks like to get some lowers and uppers in a similar arrangement, we'd spend around $1,000. Another $300 or so for a dishwasher. Then some backsplash action and other stuff . . . the $2,000 budget goal doesn't seem terribly out of reach, provided we do the work ourselves.

Stay tuned . . .


Grr. It looks like the weather will be wetter than we expected. It's not a total deal-breaker, but things aren't looking favorable for digging in the dirt this weekend.

Or all next week, really.

What you taught us is that we should have a plan before tossing various things in the ground and crossing our fingers. Maybe the rain is trying to tell us the same thing. And I guess we could always shift our focus indoors and continue to organize/clean.

What are your weekend plans? Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

Psssst: Don't forget to enter the Oikos Super Fruits Giveaway!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!


Out with the Patio, In with the Garden

>> Thursday, May 19, 2011

We're not exactly experienced landscape architects. And of the two of us, I have much more trouble feeling comfortable with a garden shovel in hand. But in learning to love our home again, we're making the most of our outdoor space this summer.

A few years ago, we had put in a "patio" of sorts.

We enjoyed it for a while, but it never totally looked great. As the years went on, more and more weeds started popping up -- exposing our we-had-NO-idea-how-to-build-a-patio-correctly reality.

So we decided to rip the whole thing up and make a garden with a walkway.

It took lots of digging (mostly on Stephen's part).

Lots of mulch.

And lots of time.

But we were able to use many plants from around the house and much of the stone we had purchased originally. Overall, we spent about $80 on some new perennials, mulch, a bit of stone, and other small supplies.

We just need to finish the walkway (we can't seem to find 12" stone similar to what we already have ANYWHERE) and use some terra cotta paint to spiff up the chiminea. Otherwise, we're loving the more-finished look.

Our next focus is on our vegetable garden. We're hoping to expand its size (to at least double what it is now) . . . and plant a variety of good stuff.

Like these herbs from my mother-in-law.

Any suggestions? Or do you have grand garden plans of your own this year? I'm thinking we started pretty late, but we had no other choice when our house was on the market. Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

Psssst: Don't forget to enter the Oikos Super Fruits Giveaway!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!


Learning to Love Again

>> Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Our kitchen (if you haven't seen the full tour, check it out) is the first space we want to transform as we learn to love our current home again. It's worked for the three years we've inhabited our home, but as we get older, wiser, and more entrenched . . . we're realizing we need to do something about it.

  • Small space. I'll admit I've suffered smaller kitchens, but as a person who loves to cook and bake, the tight squeeze is more than frustrating. But size isn't going to change. Instead, we need to maximize the space we do have. But how?
  • Crappy cabinets. We don't have great cabinets -- nor do we have a budget to redo and buy new -- but we could use/organize them better. Of course, we're seeing a theme here. We could also make much better use of the closet/pantry that's nearby. It could become an ultra-cabinet of sorts.
  • Countertop area. Again, nearly nonexistent. Again with the common complaint: NO SPACE. I've been known to knead bread dough in a lightly floured bowl on the floor (for example, in this rosemary salt loaf recipe). Depressing.
  • Dishwasher-less. Yeah. We were all talk in the desperate dishwashers post. We never did order our roll-away dishwasher. Stephen's been stuck washing and drying by hand for what seems like an eternity. This situation needs to change. ASAP.
  • Workflow. Sometimes I laugh when I watch home improvement shows/etc. and hear about this whole "kitchen workflow" idea. The way it works in our house is: We both start chopping/cooking, we turn around and bump into each other, we get involved with something again, and then we bump into each other again. I don't know if it's possible, but some kind of workflow would be nice.


Here's the laughable part. You'd think we have tons of cash around. I mean, we were just looking at buying another house! Not so much, though. We're on limited means (more on this in another post) and would like to complete this project for, well, a whopping $2,000. Or maybe $3,000. It's hard to say.

Unrealistic? Most definitely! Maybe. I try my best to believe that where there's a will, there's a way.

We have handy family in the area and don't have our sights set on anything fancy (we'd even be happy to get cabinets and other materials second-hand). ANYTHING . . . and I genuinely mean ANYTHING . . . would be better than the way it is now. We'll just have to see. It might mean doing the project in phases.


We'd love to get some major progress done in this area over the summer months. But who knows. We have made the space work so far, and if we can't find a suitable solution that will work with our current money constraints, we'll likely make it work for several more years. We'll be sure to post updates -- along with some specific photos/ideas/etc. -- in the coming months. Of course, if you have ideas to help us along, we'd love to hear from you!

Where's your problem area? Errr, in your home, I mean to say. Our lonely only bathroom is another sore spot, but what we've learned as homeowners is that we must tackle one thing at a time. Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

Psssst: Don't forget to enter the Oikos Super Fruits Giveaway!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!


Getting Back Into the Groove

>> Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I've been making an effort to cook again. It's not that I don't want to, really. I just fell out of the habit. Strangely enough, it was somewhat extremely enjoyable to keep food low-key for a while. But as I spend more time in the kitchen, I'm starting to feel somewhat confused. I'm forgetting simple substitutions that used to come naturally. And some of my skills have certainly atrophied.

Take winging-it, for example. I guess I used to take my ability to just come up with stuff on the fly for granted. Last night, I threw together some tempeh, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, flour, and soy sauce to make these vegan "meatballs."

Looks good!

But . . . they were completely disgusting. Stephen -- who RARELY wastes food -- even reached the point where he just couldn't eat them. So, dinner looked more like this (with sauce, of course -- but not homemade):

On the other hand, I haven't completely lost it. This morning, I took an old pancake recipe and adapted it to satisfy my current craving for apples and cinnamon.

In a word: A.m.a.z.i.n.g.


What you'll need . . .
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats (uncooked)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 small apple, skinned and shredded
Method . . .
  1. Whisk together the flour, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  2. Add the almond milk, maple syrup. Stir until well combined.
  3. Fold in the shredded apple (I prefer larger shreds).
  4. Then cook as you would normal pancakes. A little canola oil or Earth Balance over medium heat on both sides until golden brown.

I learned on our break that I don't -- at all -- enjoy taking photos of everything I do. (Wow. Shocking!) Not that I didn't have some Nikon-free moments before. However, I expended a significant amount of energy pulling out my camera before meals and other projects.

I'm learning to strike a better balance between blogging and my work/home lives . . . but it's difficult! It's all about keeping the most of my free time (which is lllimited -- I'm sure many of you can relate) as me-time. Or me-Stephen-and-other-family-and-friends time.

How do YOU strike a balance? Or do you struggle like me? Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

Psssst: Don't forget to enter the Oikos Super Fruits Giveaway!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!


Oikos Super Fruits Giveaway

>> Monday, May 16, 2011


Congrats to Resha, the big winner of our giveaway!

Resha writes: "I would love to try the SUPER FRUITS yogurts -- my whole family loves yogurt, and greek yogurt reminds me of my mom's homemade..mmmm."

Original post:

Just before we went on our blog break, the great people at Stonyfield Farm contacted us about the release of their newest 0% fat flavor of Greek yogurt: Super Fruits. "Would you like to give it a try?" they asked. Without hesitation, I replied: "Uhm. YES, PLEEEEEEEEASE!"

You all must know by now that I've grown a healthy dependence on Greek yogurt.

And it seems many share my love. For, when I went to some local stores to redeem my coupons -- only to find it out of stock. Eventually I hunted down a few cups. Pomegranate? Raspberries? Acai?


Now you can try some, too! Along with a bunch of other fantastic prizes. Just enter our giveaway, and here's what you'll win:

  • 2 free coupons for Oikos Organic Super Fruits Greek Yogurt
  • Weleda All Natural Pomegranate Firming Day Cream and Pomegranate Firming Serum
  • 2 free coupons for Crofters Organic Fruit Spreads
  • Organic Pomegranate lip balm, made by Eco Lips
  • 2 samples of Numi Organic Berry Black Tea (featuring organic raspberryand raspberry leaf)
  • SimplyBe Well Organic Pomegranate Moisturizing Body Bar
Oh, yeah. Did I mention Stonyfield's OIKOS Greek yogurt is 100% organic? You can learn more about why this matters on their website. So, be sure to check it out -- and leave a comment or shout out, if you feel so compelled!

TO ENTER: Leave a comment with the words SUPER FRUITS somewhere in the mix.
IN ADDITION: Tell us about your favorite .
GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Sunday, May 22nd at 9:00PM EST
ALSO: To win, I need your email address -- so please provide it (or your blog link so I can find it -- just some way of contacting you) or, unfortunately, you cannot win.
PS: One entry per email address is allowed. The winner will be selected using Tara's Random Number Generator and announced Monday (5/23) morning.

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We're baaaaaaack!

Too much has happened over the past month to cover with one post. So, we thought we'd summarize today and then delve more deeply in the coming week (or so).

Where to begin?


  • After 60 long days on the real estate market, our house did not sell. We had lots of interest, but in our area -- unless you're willing to accept significantly less money for your abode -- our situation isn't unique.
  • We did not extend our contract either. The day before our contract was up -- the house we offered on had been snatched up by another couple.
  • Much of our cooking gear is still in storage. We're hoping to get it all back soon-ish, but in the meantime . . . our meals have been pretty basic.
  • I haven't baked anything in 60 days. That's right -- two entire months without using the oven for more than heating frozen pizza.
  • We're looking forward to getting back into the groove (and perhaps even spiffing up our kitchen a bit now that we know we'll be around for a while).


What you'll need . . .
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
Method . . .
  1. Whisk dry ingredients together. Then add the wet and mix until well combined.
  2. Cook as you would pancakes -- until browned on both sides.
  3. Serve with apple slices and maple syrup.
  • Stephen's stress fracture healed after nearly 10 weeks off from running. Happily, he's back to his racing shape again. He even took 7th place in yesterday's local half marathon (with a time of 1:18:35). I ran, too, and we'll post a more complete race report sometime soon.
  • Now that each of us has been through a major injury within the past year, we can't stress enough the power of aqua jogging and cross-training. We're total converts.
  • For the next year, we're both choosing to focus on shorter distances. Stephen wants to increase his pace at the 5K to 15K distances. I just need a break from distance training.

There's definitely more, including the flower garden we recently planted. The edible one we plan to create this weekend. Lots of to-be home improvements (and our new commitment to making our small space work). Another budget crackdown (remember our saving money on groceries series?). Etc., etc., etc.

Stay tuned for an exciting giveaway that we'll post later this afternoon! I'll give y'all a hint: It rhymes with . . .

Well, not very much. You'll just have to check back.

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>> Friday, May 13, 2011

Hope you're having a lovely Friday the 13th. I just wanted to hop online quickly to offer a big T.H.A.N.K.Y.O.U for your support during our blog vacation. You've all been so, so great, and we've missed your comments and other day-to-day interactions.

Life's been good.

Yeah. We needed the rest -- that's for sure -- as it's been a crazy couple months. Though it seems that things are continuing on a hectic trend, we'll be happily returning to you all (officially) on Monday.

Till then, have a great weekend . . . and thanks again!

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