Monday, September 6, 2010

Go Back To School - On Your Terms

In my other life (pre-mommyhood), I went to college, had a blast, got myself a Bachelors degree, with one year of post-grad work in English Literature, and then went to work for a newspaper. A decade later I went back to school, this time to complete an Associates degree before going to work as a graphic designer. I had some trepidation about going back to school after so long, but it turned out to be a great move and was the catalyst for my second career.

After Pudding Pie was born, my professional life skidded to a halt and I savored the bliss of being a stay-at-home mom. Now however, several years have passed and soon Pudding Pie will be off to school. When this happens, I will once again return to work and, after such a long hiatus from work, I'll need to go back to school to get up myself up to speed once more.

As a mom, I don't see myself signing up for classes the traditional way. With so much more to juggle in my life, I will need to take courses that can fit in with my schedule. This is why I'm pretty excited about American Public University (APU). APU has a diverse, entirely online curriculum and more than 100 degree programs which can be tailored to suit my needs - great!

This means that once Pudding Pie goes to bed at night, I can study. It also means that when Pudding Pie is pirouetting her way through ballet class, I can study; when she's getting filthy on the soccer field, I can study; when she's hanging with her swim instructor, I can study!

APU offers flexibility: Unlike traditional universities, APU offers classes on a monthly basis (versus semesters), with accelerated programs and flexible courses. APU courses are 100% online, allowing students to obtain degrees from anywhere in the world – on their time, their schedules.

APU offers variety with more than 100 online degrees and certificates in subjects ranging from homeland security to management and liberal arts.

APU offers affordability with tuition that is among the lowest in the country for accredited online universities. This means quality, accredited degree programs at an affordable price. Also, APU’s simplified tuition and fee structure makes it easy for students to estimate and cover expenses, for example: an would pay $750 for a 3 credit course, and a graduate pays $900 for a 3 credit course. Here's something else I really like about APU: Their transfer credit program enables students to maximize previous learning and minimize the time and financial investment required to complete their studies.

APU offers quality and credibility: APU is a member institution of regionally- and nationally-accredited American Public University System (APUS), recognized as a leading education provider by numerous military, federal, private and public sector employers. Also, leading practitioners in a wide range of fields teach APU/AMU classes.

Yes, I'm excited about going back to school again! I'm relieved that it won't take lots of tricky maneuvering between mine and my husband's schedules, just so I can make it to class on time. I'm delighted that this needn't be a decision that will stretch our already-tight family budget, and I'm thrilled that I can have this flexibility and affordability - and still get a quality education through a credible institution.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of American Public University. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

An Essential For Optimum Health

Pudding Pie is not crazy about fish. She'll agree to eat fish sticks only if she can load them up with ketchup and that's about it. Its a shame because fish is full of protein and the 'good fats' - omega-3 fatty acids, and children especially need these essential fatty acids (EFAs) in their development.

Although Pudding Pie eagerly takes her multi-vitamin gummies every night, and although I do my best to ensure she follows a healthy diet, I worry about whether she is getting enough omega-3. It's true that, aside from fish, you can find omega-3's in other foods, such as walnuts, flaxseeds, beans, olive oil, winter squash. But, although this is great for adding add fatty acid variety to my diet, Pudding Pie is not too crazy about any of these foods either.

One daily teaspoon of Ascenta's new Nutrasea Kids supplement will deliver children their EFAs - with a Very Berry taste - and Pure Check quality assurance. The Pure Check logo on all Nutrasea products guarantees that they have been independently tested and certified for quality, purity and potency. Some fish oil supplements have high levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl compounds), environmental pollutants that pose significant health risks, so the Pure Check quality guarantee was a big factor in my decision to test the product on both myself and Pudding Pie.

I've always known that fish oil supplements are one way to get enough of those EFAs for both the big and little folk, but I was concerned that my most particular Pudding Pie would gag and create a terrible fuss if I tried this approach and I confess, I can understand - that fishy taste is a little overwhelming.

I first tried the Nutrasea adult supplement myself and I was pleasantly surprised by the distinct apple flavor that remained on my taste buds, so I decided to see how Pudding Pie would react to a dose of the kids supplement.

Nutrasea Kids' liquid format makes it easier to 'hide' in food favorites like milkshakes, smoothies, fruit juice and apple sauce. Still, on the day of Pudding Pie's first dose, I decided to forsake disguising the supplement and I administered the daily teaspoon directly into the mouth, thinking that the Very Berry taste would be enough to get the fish oil succesfully down Pudding Pie's throat. (It really is a nice taste for fish oil!)

This was a mistake. The fish oil was swiftly ejected, and I was roundly criticised for my audacious attempt to make Pudding Pie ingest something so vile. On Day 2, I wised up a little and I served the supplement in her morning orange juice and she drank a little of it, but then complained that her juice tasted "funky". By Day 3, I was smarter, I greatly increased the ratio of juice to fish oil, and my slightly wary guinea pig actually downed the lot - victory!

I also found that it really helped that by Day 2 and Day 3, the now-opened fish oil was being stored in our refrigerator and, for some reason, cold fish oil is more palatable than room temperature fish oil.

To learn more about the quality guarantee of Ascenta products, and the benefits of EFAs, visit their site:

*Nutrasea is recommended for children two to thirteen years old. Any children with fish allergies should consult a doctor before using Nutrasea.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Nutrasea Kids campaign and received Nutrasea samples to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.