Nike Shorts Alteration

The title on this post may be a little misleading. These shorts are actually Under Armour. Whatevs. I have several pair of Nike shorts and Nike-like shorts that ended up being too big. For awhile I didn't wear them because they made my legs look like sticks. Which is uncool. But then I realized that for five minutes and some thread, I can easily make them fit me. 

Here's the "Before"

I started by turning them inside out and separating the shorts part from the lining part. All I did was sew a new seam an inch above the existing seam between the two legs. It makes the shorts fit smaller and shrinks the leg holes a little bit also.

Just sew that one seam!

And then you have a pair of shorts that does not balloon out in the leg holes. Which is stellar.

This is the easiest, quickest way to alter nike shorts. However, if the shorts are way too big, you will have to alter them in a more complicated way, which I will post about later this week.

Rebounding for Better Health

I've said it before, and I'll say it again ..I love quick and easy health tips. I feel good doing them daily and knowing that I'm taking steps to making myself healthier. So as if we haven't hit enough tips already with oil pulling, neti pot fun, dry skin brushing, and daily stretching...I'm here to share about one of my favorite forms of exercise: rebounding. Rebounding is just a fancy name for jumping on a trampoline. I can remember begging my parents for a trampoline when I was younger, only to finally get it when I was too old to want to jump on it (glad you got to enjoy it little brothers!).

Fast forward several years to when I saw Crazy Sexy Cancer for the first time, and Kris Carr mentioned she was using rebounding not only as a form of exercise, but also as a tool to improve her health for the better. Really? Just by jumping on the trampoline? I was intrigued.  So I bought a cheap little trampoline from Wal-Mart for $30, and started jumping. I was surprised by how good it felt and how quickly I was out of breath! Ever since then I've been hooked. Now I took a little break when I was pregnant with Avery, but once she was born I got right back to rebounding.

I don't know about you, but jumping around on a mini trampoline for longer than 5-10 minutes sounds like the most boring workout ever, so I don't really use rebounding to take the place of my daily, hour-long workout. Instead, I try to make sure and jump for 5-10 minutes at least once a day...and on a "bonus day" I'll jump twice, in the morning and then when I get home from work. Whoa out now, two jump sessions, talk about waking up that lymphatic system!

It's rebounding time!

Which brings me to one of the many benefits that come from rebounding...helping to increase circulation in your lymphatic system.  I scratched the surface a bit when it comes to learning about the lymphatic system in my post about dry skin brushing, but to recap...the body has two circulatory systems, one for blood and one for lymph. The heart helps pump the blood throughout the body, but the lymph system has no pump. It relies on us to get the lymph circulating  primarily through exercise (rebounding, etc), and dry skin brushing. When the lymph system is pumping, waste and toxins are carried out and nutrients are delivered into the cells. Without this pump (from things like rebounding) the waste builds up in our cells leading to chronic ailments and illnesses. It was found that rebounding increased the lymph flow by 15-30 times! Can you believe that?! Talk about motivation to include rebounding in your daily health routine!

Other benefits that come from rebounding include:

  • zero-impact exercise that won't stress the joints
  • full body workout
  • strengthens abdominal muscles
  • enhances digestion and elimination
  • helps burn calories
  • helps decrease your resting heart rate
  • circulates oxygen to tissues and muscles in the body
  • helps promote relaxation 
  • improves quality of sleep

The list goes on and on...but enough science rambling, let's get into the basics of rebounding.

How to rebound:

  1. Step on your mini-trampoline
  2. Jump up and down
  3. Repeat daily

Easy enough right? Well, if you want to see a visual, here's me jumping around in this week's sure to watch until the end so you can see the other person in my house who likes to rebound!

Now if you're a "health investigator" like me, you probably have some questions and hopefully I can answer them.

Does it matter what type of rebounder you use?
As I said, I got mine from Wal-Mart for $20 at the time, now it's up to $30...but really it's up to you. There are lots of fancy rebounders on the market and if you're game to drop $60-100 on one, then by all means go for it. But if you just want to give rebounding a try, I suggest you try one like mine. Heck, you might end up using it for years! Just a note, mine came with a counter to count my jumps, which was cool, but it broke after a month or so. It also came with resistance bands, which I've never really used...I just like the simple jumping.

My simple rebounder.

How long do you rebound/jump for?
How ever long you want to or can stand. As I said before, I usually jump for about 5-10 minutes before or after my daily workout

How do you jump?
I like to mix it up with this point in jumping the exact same way for 10 whole minutes!  So I will move my arms around open and close my feet and legs, and do all kinds of different jumps from big to small to keep it entertaining. This is where you can cater it to your fitness level. Maybe you are hardcore with your cardio, so I bet you could jump fast and do lots of additional movements, where as someone who is just getting into working out would maybe just jump slowly with small, gentle movements.

How to make the time go by faster while your jumping?
Jump to some music or while you're watching TV, or you could count like I do (thanks counter that came with my rebounder for getting me stuck on this habit!). For some reason I love doing reps of 200 on the trampoline...I have no idea why I started doing it years ago, and like to jump to that number. So each time my feet hit the trampoline, I count. Once I get to 200, I take a break and start again. I continue this till I'm tired.

Any tips for someone just getting started?
Start slow. As with any new sport or physical activity, you'll probably be rip-roaring and ready to go the first time you jump because it will feel so good, so go for it...but only a little. If you go all out the first time you jump, you will be sore in places you never thought you would just by jumping on a trampoline. Personally, if I go a long period of time without jumping and then I get back into it, my lower abs get so sore from the rebounding...and yet I never would have though that I was using my abs while jumping! I guess that just goes to show that rebounding really is one rocking workout for your whole body!

But to get more specific, if you're a beginner, I'd ease in by just doing 100 jumps or less that first day and then see how you feel. Maybe you can increase it the next and or maybe you need to scale it back. Also, depending on your physical activity level, 100 may be way to much for you, so start small and slow and then work yourself up to more.

I love incorporating my arms into my
rebounding. It really makes it feel like
a "full body workout!"

When in the day should I do rebounding?
Whenever you want. Maybe you would like to start your day to some jumping, or right before lunch you could squeeze in a little "jump session" whatever works for you is fine. As long as your at least jumping once a day for 5-10 minutes it doesn't really matter. I said before I like to do it before or after a workout, depending on the type of workout I do to help me warm up or cool down.

But sometimes I use rebounding as a way to take a break from what I'm working on. Like a blog post for example! Maybe I've been sitting at my laptop for a long time and I can feel my body start to get tight, my eyes starting to hurt and my ideas starting to get stagnant...that's when I know it's time to jump. So I'll head down to my basement, jump for about 5 minutes or so, and come back to work feeling refreshed, awake, and revived. In fact, I've come up with many good ideas, blog posts and recipes while thanks little $30 Wal-Mart mini-trampoline, you rock!

Word to the Wise:
Ladies, this is probably common sense, but you'll probably want to be sure and wear a sports bra when you're's so much more comfortable this way, for obvious reasons. Nursing mamas, I'm talking to you too! (  :

So what do you think?
Does rebounding sound like something you could easily add into your daily routine, if you're not doing it already? Maybe it could take the place of your workout, or maybe it could just be used to give you a "break" from your work. I sure would love one in my preschool classroom...maybe someday. I bet my students would love that. Too bad they would have to always be kicking me off of it!

Have you ever done rebounding? Do you like it? How do you make it work with your daily routine? Do you have a favorite mini-trampoline? Any health benefits you've seen come from rebounding? Share below!

Happy jumping!

When Dad's Away...

...we make soup.  Not just any soup, though.  A soup I discovered last fall that now has a sacred place on my fall bucket list every year.  Could I make it in the summertime?  Why, of course, yet, there's something about purchasing my first butternut squash of the season, sitting there basking in all its glory next to the mums and corn husks, and array of cute gourds, that makes it worth the wait.

**recipe for butternut squash soup below..**

Beau left early Sunday for a work conference in Omaha, leaving Cruz and I some quality mama/son time for a few days.  Beau doesn't leave us very often, but it's always those times that I realize just how important he is to this family's equation.  I miss little things the most --- conversation in the kitchen during dinner time, cramming in the bathroom together during bath time, and the simple presence of someone sitting across the way in the living room.  Heck, I even missed that guitar playing Blowin' in the Wind for the 200th time.  

And now, after having another life to care for, my responsibility heightens even more when it's just me.  I remember after Cruz was born, Beau took a week or so off from work.  Every day, we rode the parenting train together, leaning on one another, examining our handiwork with a diaper, and tag-teaming simple routines like baths, poopy diapers, and bag packing.  I think we changed diapers together for the first three months of Cruz's life.  Anyways, I remember the first day Beau went back to work, my first day at home with Cruz by myself.  While one part of me was so excited for the opportunity to get this precious baby all to myself, another part of me was freaking out, knowing it was all up to me to keep this thing alive and happy for eight hours straight.  I was walking the plank alone, and the open waters below looked pretty intimidating.      

And although I still feel that anxiety creep into my system when it's just me for a few days, there's now a part that I relish, a part that makes me feel strong and powerful and independent when I have a chance to swim it on my own.  When there's two of us around,  I sometimes get into this trap of feeling like there's always something else to do, but when it's just me, it's validating to realize that life sometimes goes a whole lot smoother when you're not trying to accomplish everything at once.  The small things, a bath before bed, five bedtime stories instead of three, and getting out the door on time in the morning, all become big accomplishments when it's up to one person.  I always salute every single mama in this world after going it alone for a day or two.       

So what did the boy and I do while daddy was away???

We went for a walk before bed.

We did some puzzles.

We visited the book store and the pet store with Papa Curt and Grandma Kelly.

We did some painting.

And, we made soup.  

Without further adieu, the recipe to my savory and creamy butternut squash masterpiece.

-1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
-4 tbsp. butter
-6 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks (about the size of a quarter)
-2 cups chicken broth
-1 cup water
-4 cubes chicken bouillon
-1/2 tsp. garlic salt
-1/2 tsp. marjoram
-1/2 tsp. black pepper
-1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
-1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese

1.  In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onions and saute until tender.  Add squash, water, broth, and spices, and bring to boil.  Boil for 20 minutes, or until squash is tender and well, squashable.

2.  Reduce heat to low and add package of cream cheese and stir until melted.  Next, in batches, puree soup in a blender or processor.  Stir back in pot and heat through.  

**I like the soup with a spoonful of brown sugar and a piece of crusty bread for dipping.  

Happy Weekend to You!  Where did you go, September?!


Shorts to Skirt Attempt

Sometimes sewing projects go great. Like here and here. And then other times it turns out like this. I bought this pair of shorts at Salvation Army because I love the color and fabric. However, they started out as very too big, so rather than simply take them in, I decided to make them into a skirt. 

I cut the middle seam apart and re-sewed it. However, it turned out way. too. small. :( Boo.

Too small, slightly asymmetrical, but maybe I'll wear it with tights this fall. We'll see. Or maybe I'll just cut it up and make it into something else. That's a lot more likely, actually. So basically, the lesson I have for you today is this: You win some, you lose some. But you should always keep sewing. Hopefully eventually I'll win more than I lose. :D


I love this quote. And I love Emma Watson. I just noticed the quote was by her when I uploaded it. I guess I'm a bit unobservant...

So in honor of being honest and not hiding behind a facade of perfection, I give you *drumroll*... my awkward photos! These are the pictures that I usually delete as soon as I see them. But that's dumb. Plus they're freaking hilarious, so it would be rude not to share them. Here are all the outfit pictures gone wrong. :)

Almost falling over while still trying to cheese. Yah, sounds about right.

 There are no words to describe this picture. No words. 

"Uh, hey... Chase? I've got something in my pocket to show you. If you want."

Why I Started Blogging

As I wrote in my recent post great things can happen online. I have been nominated for the Expatica "I am not a tourist” Expat Blog Competition 2012.

I was asked by Amsterdam Mamas in their Meet the Blogger series to answer a few questions and the first questions was: Why did you start blogging? Which is actually a really good question. I started this blog in June 2011. So I have celebrated my first blog anniversary and we did that with a lovely interview with Heidi Sand-Hart, the author of the book "Home Keeps Moving". There was a giveaway too, so that was one of my posts with the most comments.

Amsterdam Mamas was created in 2010 by a group of expat mothers and mothers-to-be who wanted to support each other and exchange information about their experiences of pregnancy and motherhood in Amsterdam. Do hop over and visit their website. If you want to know why I started blogging you can read it here in the mini interview.

Just to let you know Expatica posted about DrieCulturen too this week.

The Expat Blog competition is open until the 7th of October which is the day of the expat fair at the Beurs van Berlage in the heart of Amsterdam. Hop over and see all the other blogs that have been nominated and cast your vote here: 
By the way what do you think was my best or most interesting post? I would love to hear from you.

Interesting posts:

Tuesday Date Night

I had today off work, so I spent the day rearranging my clothes. We don't have enough drawers to have all of our clothes accessible at the same time, so I brought all of my winter clothes down from the closet and put up a ton of t-shirts and shorts. Also I watched approximately six episodes of 90210 while I cleaned and organized. It was a really nice day. Chase was at school for almost the entire day, so we he got home at 7:00, he decided we should go on a spontaneous date night.

It was so fun! Here's what I wore:

Here's pictures of my ridiculously attractive husband. :) Aren't his shoes cool? We found them at Salvation Army for somewhere around two dollars. They're like a much classier version of toms.

I decided I'm a fan of Tuesday date nights. But only every once in awhile.

We went to Macaroni Grill for dinner, and then walked around Target for awhile. I love Macaroni Grill because they cover the tables with white paper and give you crayons, so you can entertain yourself during the meal. We played tic-tac-toe, dots, and discussed politics on the tablecloth. Perfect.

Outfit Details:

Shirt -- Salvation Army $.96
Tank Top -- Salvation Army $.66
Jeans -- American Eagle via Salvation Army $4.99 (here)
Heels -- Thrift shop $2
Purse -- Dooney & Bourke via Salvation Army $8 (here)
Necklace -- Gift

Total: $16.61

Fall is Here

I love unplanned, impromptu weekends maybe as much as the planned ones --- especially when they involve favorite fall things --- mukluks and fleece, biscuits and gravy and coffee with cream and sugar, and movie nights and pizza boxes piled under warm and cozy blankets.  Saturday was the first official day of fall, and it swept in like a late-July thunderstorm and reminded us that Mother Nature can indeed still chill our bones.  And while this cold, unexpected frost may have altered our plans to go pumpkin hunting on Saturday, our detour to downtown Waterloo for some yummy breakfast at Newtons proved to be planned and calculated by powers much higher than our smart phones.  After a lovely breakfast tucked in the back of our favorite downtown diner, we ended up at Touch a Truck, aka, thee best day of Cruz's life thus far.  A fundraiser that blocked off city streets and filled them with just about every truck, car, and tractor possible for no other purpose than to let lots of little eager souls sit in the driver's seats, test out the sirens, and honk the horns.  The trucks, paired with two giant blow-up castles, a balloon artist, several Tonka trucks, and Scratch Curbside, Cruz was on cloud nine all morning. 

But perhaps the best part of our morning was when Cruz spotted little miss Harper from across the parking lot, and started shrieking and shaking in excitement at the sight of her blond pigtails.  Our two littles saw each other just in time to ride the yellow school bus together, followed by the tractor, the military hummer, and the police swat car.  What a fun surprise running into his favorite friend!

Cruz and his friend, Ethan, found themselves together in the back of a police swat vehicle.  I really hope this isn't some bizarre foreshadowing into our future...

After his first ever stint in a blow-up castle (which he loved, by the way), a very patient wait in line at the balloon animal stand, and a few Scratch cupcakes for the road, we enjoyed a rare Saturday afternoon at home, taking naps during football, doing a little paint project to hang on our fridge, and mixing up some yummy movie night snacks for our night ahead.

With the first expected frost of the season falling on Saturday night, we decided it was the perfect night for a movie night with Jordan, Kelli, Charly, and Hayes.  And to think Cruz's day could get any better!  We ordered pizzas from the OP, curled up under a sea of blankets in the basement, made movie night necklaces of Cheerios, Fruit Loops, and Gummy Savors, and the adults sipped Coke with Black Velvet Toasted Caramel.  And although the kiddos weren't too content on cuddling up and watching Cars with us, they seemed pretty happy to reconnect.

How else did we celebrate this first official weekend of fall? 
...a nighttime walk under the orange glow of street lights, and a pit-stop by the football field in our pajamas.

...Friday night dinner in --- one of our favorite classic pasta dishes with our final batch of garden tomatoes, an after dinner drink or two (have I mentioned how good B.V.'s Toasted Caramel is?!), and a simple, no-stress breather after a busy work week.

...playtime in the basement.  We use our basement more after summer's end, and are always reminded of how cozy it is.  So cozy, that we decided to renew our Netflix account and vowed to spend many nights curled up with a bowl of popcorn and a good flick.

...homemade applesauce in the crockpot.  It was easy, it was tasty, and best of all, it simmered in the slow cooker all afternoon and filled my house with a smell that made my Wallflowers curl up in embarrassment.  

...Cruz's photo book came in!  This is one of the single most exciting days of our fall, and is always followed with a perfectly timed walk down memory lane right before our sweet boy turns another year older.