Thursday, August 15, 2013

Books: Hoop Genius and Odd Duck

Now that a new semester has started, summer just feels over to me. I know it's definitely not over in terms of the weather - we went to a cookout this past Sunday and the heat made me miserable. During the summer I did my best to get through my extensive to-read list, and I am trying really hard to manage my time better so I can continue to make progress this fall. But when I'm feeling bogged down, I like to pick up "light" reading.

"Light" reading for me is children's books!

Basketball is big in our home and in our marriage (never thought I would ever write that). I like to order nonfiction books for my library that are unique and aren't covered by other materials. Hoop Genius by John Coy is a quick read that gives kiddos a basic explanation of how basketball became basketball. Of course, Richie knew the story well before I had ever heard of this book, but I enjoyed the lesson.

Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci is classified as a graphic novel at my library. I know I've mentioned how awesome graphic novels are, and I love seeing lots of graphic novels coming out now for the preschool/early-elementary crowds. Odd Duck is hilarity with a moral - be yourself. This is the perfect book to start a discussion on fitting in (or not).
Disclaimer: Yes, I've linked to where you can learn more about these books and authors. No, I'm not making money off the links.

Monday, August 12, 2013

New Semester, New Study Habits

Today begins another semester of grad school.

I took the summer semesters off because my work schedule is intense. I won't lie: I loved coming home, having dinner, and spending the rest of my evening doing whatever the heck I wanted. But the nerd in me is missing the academics.

I only take two classes each regular semester. I could probably add one more to the mix, but I'd like to have some sanity in my life. The program I'm in requires you to finish the degree in 7 years - while I hope it doesn't take me that long to complete, it makes my two-classes-per-semester the perfect pace for me. I like that there's wiggle room in the program because life happens.

My study setup last fall. Our poor dining room table.
Our fall schedule in our home is hectic. Richie's high school start started back, which means fall and winter sports are about to kick up (he also works for the high school's athletics department). I try my best to go to as many games as I can. With his schedule and my schedule during the week, my intention this semester is to reserve Saturdays as my "big" schoolwork days. Our weeks get too busy for me to stay up until the wee hours working, so my prayer is to knock out the upcoming week's work the Saturday before.

Do you have any study/schedule tips for me?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Product Review: Lifeway Kefir

I signed up for Influenster via Sara (who is launching a new website today!) back in October of 2012. She would review products she received through the program, and of course, I wanted to sign up. (Being able to try new products without wasting my hard-earned cash? Heck yeah!) It takes a few weeks to get going, but I am reviewing my second product through the program already, and it's fun!

This time around I'm reviewing Lifeway Kefir probiotic drink. I actually tried this product once before at a friend's house - and I never wanted to try it again. I tried the raspberry flavor, which isn't my favorite flavor in general. For this process, I picked up the blueberry drink. On its own it's good, but I decided to make a smoothie with it. I did one cup of the drink to one cup of frozen strawberries. I added no sugar or sweeteners. The smoothie hit the spot! And my favorite part about the kefir? One cup has 11 grams of protein.

Saturday smoothie goodness!
I'm fortunate to have no food allergies. If you do have 'em, this product is 99 percent gluten and lactose free. It only has a handful of ingredients. And who doesn't love ingesting good bacteria? Yeah, I'm a fan.

(Disclaimer: I received a free coupon to try this product. I received no financial compensation for reviewing this product.)