Category Archives: Education

Avoiding the “Freshman Fifteen”

Ok, I’m not actually a freshman, but last month I went back to school (Texas State) as a transfer student. Interestingly, it has actually allowed me MORE opportunity and motivation to work out. How is that possible, you ask?

First, I have a 1.3 mile walk from my parking lot of choice to my 1st class. I COULD use the shuttle service, but I’ve found it is faster to walk than wait for the shuttle. Oh, and it smells nicer, too. (All those bodies on one tiny shuttle: woah!) So, I choose walking. And it’s not a straight, even path either. There are LOTS of steps, both up and down, as the campus flows with the natural hill country landscape.
Second, I’m taking advantage of the fact that my tuition includes a membership to the campus rec center. It is amazing! There are plenty of cardio and weight machines, a nice free weight area, basketball courts, racquetball courts, even a couple foosball tables. They also offer group fitness classes like yoga, cycle fit, guts & glutes, TRX, 30/20/10, Zumba, bootcamp, etc. So far, my schedule has only allowed me to use the main gym area (free weights and cardio and weight machines) and to participate in the yoga classes, but I’m hoping I can get in the 30/20/10 class at least a couple times this semester. 30/20/10 consists of 30 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of strength, and 10 minutes of abs and stretching. My gym routine has been 3 days a week, 2 of which I am focusing on lower body with this 12 week program that I found on Pinterest. I like it because it combines heavy weight/low rep with light weight/high rep to get the best of both worlds. The middle day, I have been doing upper body weight training, but I have not yet found one “routine” that I like the best, so I’ve just been switching it up.

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Some of the exercises in my lower body program

The final thing I have been implementing is moderation in my eating. Sure, I occasionally get a Starbuck or add waffle fries to my Chic-fil-a Salad or Cool Wrap. But I don’t go crazy about it. My favorite breakfast lately has been a container of Noosa Yoghurt and 2 of Jamie Eason’s Carrot Cake Protein Bars. If you haven’t tried Noosa and you like yoghurt (or yogurt), I highly recommend it!

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That Strawberry Rhubarb! YUM!

So, 5 weeks in, how is this new schedule and routine working? I’d say quite well. The first week, I didn’t lose any weight, but for the next 3 weeks I consistently lost 0.4 pounds per week. I’m not necessarily looking to lose weight as much as I am looking to build more muscle and lose a little of the extra fat that I had gained from being more sedentary than I used to be. I’m not sure on any weight loss for this week as I don’t weigh myself every day. I won’t be upset if I didn’t loose anything as this week I have not made it into the gym or yoga due to studying for 4 tests (2 down, 2 to go). I have continued to eat in moderation, which has helped me avoid stress eating, which I can sometimes be prone to.

 

So, to sum it all up, here is my personal solution for avoiding what many experience as the “freshman 15.”

1. Walk or use steps when you have the option.

2. Exercise. It doesn’t matter if you can do a little or a lot, just use your body and you will get stronger.

3. Make healthy eating choices; eat in moderation. A treat here and there is not going to sabotage you. In fact, it may keep the binging tendencies at bay if you are prone to them.

 

Now I’m off to continue to study for the 2 tests I have next week. Wish me luck! 🙂

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FREE Summer Reading Programs – 2014

Summer break is in full swing! Today I’m linking up with Women Helping Women over at Teaching What is Good and I thought I’d help all you mamas (and daddies) out by giving you a list of FREE summer reading programs that I am aware of. For the most part, my 3 children don’t need a whole lot of motivation to read, but it never hurts. To help us with reading ideas, we are going through the Indie Bestsellers List posted on the Austin Public Library’s website.
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*At the time of this posting, all reading programs are free. The information posted here is information that has been provided at this point and it is subject to change. Those changes may not be updated on this post. Please review the details provided by the companies themselves to verify that the information is still true and valid.*

 

So here’s my list of reading programs that are free. If you know of any others, please let me know in the comments so that others can check them out.

 

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge: Reading Under the Stars

Read & log your minutes: Read as many books as you can and log your minutes in your dashboard.

Take weekly challenges:Reach weekly minute milestones and answer challenge questions to earn virtual rewards.

Enter Sweeps:Enter for a chance to win awesome books every time you reach a weekly reading milestone.

 

H-E-Buddy Rockin’ Summer Reading Club

Challenge: Read 10 books

Prize: An H-E-Buddy Rockin’ Summer Reading Club T-shirt

*This will cost you a stamp since you have to mail in the form.

 

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading: Imagination’s Destination

Challenge: Read 8 books

Prize: a free book

 

Pizza Hut: Spark Your Greatness Summer Reading Challenge

Challenge: Read 5 books

Prize: a chance to win the grand prize

 

Half Price Books: Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program

Challenge: Read 15 minutes each day for a month

Prize: $5 HPB Bookworm Bucks and a chance to win a $20 HPB Gift Card

 

Pottery Barn Kids: Summer Reading Challenge

Challenge: Read andy 8 titles from the recommended list by July 31

Prize: a free book while supplies last

 

Your Local Library

I’ve never lived in a town or city where the local library didn’t have a summer reading program for kids. Here in Austin, there’s even an Adult Summer Reading Program! How cool is that? And their theme? Destination Outer Space. Super cool for a SciFi gal like me!

 

So there is the list of summer reading programs that you can sign your kids (or yourself!) up for. Again, if you know of more, please let me know in the comments so that others can participate as well.

 

Have a fantastic time reading with your kiddos this summer!


End of School Year Business Part 2

Phew! So, are you ready to find out what else my family and I have been up to this past month? Well, here it is! [If you havent read part 2 from yesterday, check it out here!]

 

On Memorial Day, the LBJ Library and Museum was free to the public. So, the hubs, kids, and I headed out to check it out. I didn’t really take many pictures because I was too busy reading and explaining to my younger 2 children about all that “old” stuff (from the 60s!) that they had no clue about. I know I wasn’t alive back then either, but it is crazy to me how much of that stuff was still around when I was a kid (in the 80s and 90s) but is almost unrecognizable to my children today. They were very excited to learn that my grandma still has a rotary telephone that works. They plan on calling their daddy on his cell phone next time we go up for a visit. We really have made some incredible advances in technology in recent years.

Here are a couple pictures that I did take though:

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The other thing that kept me busy for a few days was our Beagle, Katie. About 6 weeks ago she had a random seizure that freaked me out and I took her to the vet immediately (thankfully it happened at noon). I didn’t really think to take a video at the time that it happened, so I just had to try to explain what I saw to the vet. She agreed that it sounded like a seizure and they did a few tests. All tests came back normal and I was instructed to get it on video if it happened again. Well, it did happen again, 34 days later. I was able to get it on video this time. It happened at 9:30 pm and Katie was back to normal very shortly after it was over, so I took her to the vet the next day. They watched the video and reviewed her test results from the previous visit and diagnosed her with Epileptic Seizures. No medication is required at this time because the seizures are mild and more than a month apart. If that changes, medication will probably be necessary to prevent them from occurring. Other than the seizures though, Katie is a healthy, happy dog. She loves our family and is adequately spoiled.

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I also just completed a 6 week Early Childhood Education class with my little guy, N. The class was 2 1/2 hours on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. It focused on teaching parents how to help their preschool aged children be successful in school. Here is the breakdown of all 12 classes:

Class 1

Introduction. What should I do before my child starts kindergarten? Ready for School Checklist

project: dream catchers

 

Class 2

Social and Emotional Preparation

project: feeling faces

 

Class 3

Phonological Awareness

projects: rhyming memory game and hearts

 

Classes 4 & 5

Letter Knowledge

projects: ABC visual, ABC visual (mixed up), name book, vowels book, name tree, ABC Bingo

 

Class 6

Narrative Skills

projects: 3 little piggies, sequences, story book dice

 

Classes 7 & 8

Math Skills – Numbers, Colors, and Shapes, Math in Our World

projects: math visual, counters, number book, shapes activity, bean numbers, number Bingo

 

Class 9

Pre-Kindergarten Science – Physical Science, Life Science, Earth & Space Science, Physical Safety & Health

projects: color wheel, popping pepper, weather chart, sink or float

 

Class 10

Vocabulary Skills

project: new words dictionary

 

Class 11

Print Motivation and Fine Motor Skills, Developing Writing Skills

projects: play-doh exercises, lace-up apple

 

Class 12

Review

projects:graduation picture frames and graduation caps

 

At the end of the class we had a little party/graduation to show off all the projects that we had completed over the 6 weeks. Each of the participating parents had to get up and talk about 2 projects, the child’s favorite and the parent’s favorite. It was a fun class to take and I really enjoyed making and playing with the projects with not only N, but his older siblings as well.

Here are some pictures of my spread of projects. It really was a lot of work over that 6 week period.

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My next post will be about awards ceremonies, my boys’ graduations as well as school year before and after pics.