Friday, February 28, 2014



After much thought and consideration, I have applied to University of Iowa to complete my bachelor's degree!!!

Ultimate goal - law school!

Also, once I earn my bachelor's I will have accomplished a life-long goal to be a true Hawkeye Alumni!

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Progress: Scale Obsession

I work out.
I can remember back to the beginning of my freshman year of high school when I was sitting on the bleachers of our gym with my friend Kelsey after having just been weighed in front of everyone.  We were both pretty mortified.  I couldn't believe I actually weighed 121 pounds. . . Man, what a fatty.
I'd kill to be "fat" like that again.
I think it was sometime around middle school when I was actually told by a classmate that I was "fat" that my obsession with the scale began.  I had to have my weight at a certain level or I was eternally doomed to the single life and moo moos.  What ridiculousness! That actually led to unhealthy eating/workout habits my junior year of high school which, thankfully, I overcame. 
Since then, I have continued to struggle with focusing on the number on the scale instead of focusing on being healthy.  It took awhile, but I am finally getting away from that bad habit.  I have been lifting weights and know that inevitably I'm going to gain weight due to more muscle mass.  My pants are starting to fit better by just a smidge (I think - or maybe that is just in my head), so why do I need to get on the scale each morning to "check in"?  Answer: I don't.  Maybe I'll weigh in once every month or so just to guage things, but I'm not going to let the number tear me down. 
I should just get rid of my personal scale and use the one at the gym.  . . . I don't think I'm quite ready for that step yet.  But progress is progress!
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Christmas 2013

I never did get around to how wonderful our Christmas was this year.  

Our tree! It was given to us for free by my work.
They had it stored under an old elevator & it smelled so they bought a new one.
This aired out for a week and ta-da! No more smelly!
It was an exciting year for both of us since we hadn't had a Christmas close to family since we'd been married.  Happily, all of Ben's siblings & significant others were able to gather at Ben's parents' home in Ft. Madison.

Ben, Andy, me, Tescia
(Photo courtesy of Tescia)
Prior to our travel to FM, my brother-in-law, Andy, and his gf, Tescia, stopped by for a visit.  Most of our time was spent sitting around the Christmas tree telling stories and catching up.  Tescia brought the world's largest box of cookies & a case of wine, so we were set for good times. ;)

Can't take them anywhere. . .
Trip to Iowa City to show Tescia Andy's old stomping grounds.
After their departure, Ben and I had our own Christmas.  We cooked a delicious, healthy shrimp Mediterranean pasta for supper, turned on the xmas tunes, and enjoyed a glass of wine.  When we opened gifts, Grover was excited to receive new, yummy treats, Ben was excited for his $$$ to invest in an electric acoustic guitar, and I was excited to get my groove on with my new Kinnect & dance games!

This is how I presented Ben's $ for a guitar. :)
I had to work until noon on Christmas Eve, so we weren't able to get to Ben's parents' home until close to supper on Christmas Eve.  Bri was the only one home when we arrived, so we took a minute to unload our things and check out the newly remodeled basement. (It's awesome, btw).  When everyone else returned from church, we were greeted with many hugs and smiles.  We soon were indulging in appetizers and fine wine.  When everyone was hungry, we sat down to a meal of oyster stew or chicken noodle soup (whichever you prefer).  

Story time!
(Photo courtesy of Tescia)
Before the Kara and Nina went to bed on Christmas Eve, Glenda read us all The Night Before Christmas.  Kara helped Glenda to remember to show us all the pictures.  Her concern was adorable and made us all chuckle. :)

Photos from Christmas Eve:

We had matching bows!
(Photo courtesy of Tescia)
Nina watching Ben play his new guitar.
(Photo courtesy of Tescia)

Beautiful fireplace! Andy and Jon were looking for Santa!
Or lighting a fire. . . whatever.
(Photo courtesy of Tescia)

Keith, Nina & Kara
(Photo courtesy of Tescia)

Glenda & the girls.
(Photo courtesy of Tescia)
Jamie, Nina, Kara, Keith
Andy, Nina & me
(Photo courtesy of Tescia)
Andy & Tescia
(Photo courtesy of Tescia)

Nina was very curious.
I think we have a musician on our hands!
(Photo courtesy of Tescia)
Love Kara's face in this picture!
(Photo courtesy of Tescia)

The girls LOVED the train!
(Photo courtesy of Tescia)

Glenda playing a bit on Ben's guitar.
Christmas Day began with French toast casserole, then presents galore! It was fun to see Kara and Nina get excited about their presents from Santa.  Kara received play make-up and my goodness, she was in love!

Playing with the girls and their Santa gifts.
(Photo courtesy of Tescia)
After gifts and thanks were given, Ben and I headed over to my mom's house for lunch.  We arrived early enough to help her cook and get things ready for company.  I really regret that we didn't pull out a camera, or even our phones, to capture our time spent with Ma, Clif and Shane.  We enjoyed our meal, opened gifts, and then Ben and I headed back to his parents' house.

Here is what we did with the rest of our Christmas Day night:

Bill & Jon boxing

Bri, Jamie & Andy dancing to Applause

Tescia & Andy boxing
Needless to say, everyone was sore the next day. 
I look forward to many more happy holidays with our families. 

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Our Lives in Photographs: Snow Days

Just a few winter-time gems:

View from our window during snow storm.
Sweet Miss Mae all bundled up!
Snow puppy!
Perfect capture!

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

This week at the CR Jackson household. . . 1.0

What a week.  Upside: two free tickets to the Roughriders hockey game on Wednesday which meant an impromptu date with my permanent roommate.  We both enjoyed the mid-week break and the chance to do something fun for el-cheapo.  

@ the game!  We had AWESOME seats.

The rest of the week was down hill from there with over tiredness and work stress.  Ben picks me up after work each day and on Friday showed up with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers on the passenger seat.  They were a complete surprise and made me a little weepy.  Such a sweet husband, I have.

We went to happy hour with Johnna, Danny & Maelynn at the Irish Democrat where I indulged in a much wanted/needed key lime pie martini.  I always love spending time with that little family. :)

Ben and I did fairly well this week with maintaining a healthy diet and exercising.  Well, sort of.  We find that it is hard to balance social life with exercising.  Since we get home a little after 5 p.m. and we generally like to be in bed around 9 or 9:30 p.m. to read and unwind from the day, it is a bit of a crunch to try and fit in both the gym and an evening activity.  For example, we normally change to go to the gym, get there around 5:45 p.m. and leave about an hour later.  Then there is supper.  And if we were going to go somewhere we'd want to shower.  Then o poop, it's time we get in bed. . .  I refuse to sacrifice having a social life just to go to the gym, so we are working on figuring out a good balance.

Going along with all that jazz, I have also ordered a couple of books to start educating myself on nutrition so I can decide what is really best for me instead of following some guru's diet plan.  I'm looking forward to those arriving in the mail soon!  One is on health and nutrition, and the other is on essential oils.  I've read on other blogs about all of the homemade junk you can make using essential oils and other expensive crap, and I kind of want to give it a try.  It is better to go natural than continue to expose myself to all the chemicals in store bought things.  I.e. natural house cleaning products, hair products, etc.

To end this post, I will leave you with a couple of recipes that I used this week and L-O-V-E.  First is a smoothie that I threw together that satiated my "need" for something sweet AND it tastes like a Tootsie Pop. Awesome!  Second is a salad that I threw together because apples and avocados were on sale and I was in the mood for some greens.

Tootsie Pop Smoothie

You need:

Frozen mixed berries
Almond milk
1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
4 or 5 ice cubes
1 T honey

To do:

Mix everything together in a blender or smoothie maker.  Serve right away. 

Apple &Avocado Salad (for 2 people)

You need:

1 Apple, diced
2 Avocados, diced
2 oven-baked chicken boobs
Romaine Lettuce
Panera Bread Poppy Seed Fat-Free Salad Dressing

To do:

Toss spinach and lettuce together.  Grab what you want for your bowl.  Add all the other crap to your liking.  EAT!

NOTE:  Let's do a little comparison here just for fun. . .

Panera Poppy Seed Dressing:
2 T = 15 Calories, 0 from fat
0 g Fat
0 mg Cholesterol
150 mg Sodium

HyVee Buttermilk Ranch: 
2 T = 120 Calories, 110 from fat
12 g Fat; 2 g Saturated Fat
10mg Cholesterol
300mg Sodium

Peace out.

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