This is an easy and delicious project. You'll need an eCore or other very cool mug, 16-20 donut holes, styrofoam, lollipop sticks, a few green and brown candy melts, and chocolate coffee stirrers or similar. We whipped this one up in about 15 minutes. You could make a really stunning one in about 30 minutes.

1. Cut a piece of styrofoam to fit your cup.

2. Put some chocolate-covered coffee beans (or other chocolate) on top of the styrofoam.

3. Melt some green and brown candy discs in a microwave oven.

4. Pipe the melted candy on top of some of the donut holes.

5. Put lollipop sticks into the donut holes, and arrange them in the styrofoam. You may want to cut some of the sticks into shorter lengths.

6. Tie a big green bow around the arrangement. You can also add some chocolate stirring sticks (may need to use toothpicks to connect them).

Time to Recharge -

Most of us are already pining for the days of the long holiday break to sleep late, gorge ourselves on sweet treats and cheese ball, spend hours in front of the television watching reruns of King of Queens or perhaps head to the movies.  No doubt, we are in need of rest and relaxation and enjoying time with our families.

  It is important to clear your mind of algebraic equations, sociological theory, or the Georgia constitution, and fill your head with dancing sugar plums for a while!

I want to suggest that during the many days away from school and the computer that you keep yourself motivated so that you can return in January with tenacity and a fresh perspective. 

Here are a few tips while recharging over the break.
Keep reading.   Finding things you love to read over the break will keep your mind stimulated and your vocabulary sharp. (Please don’t rely on Facebook for ALL of you intellectual perusing J ).  
Maintain “to-do” lists.  Staying on some kind of schedule and accomplishing tasks is important for a healthy outlook and keeps you from staying up all night and sleeping all day.   Jot down a few things to accomplish daily. Examples might include: cleaning out a closet, writing a letter, volunteering at a local agency for a couple hours, washing your van, etc…
Stay active. There is something to be said for getting 30 min of exercise a day.  This can be a simple walk around your neighborhood, heading to the mall (without a pit stop at the food court), or light housework.  Exercise keeps your heart healthy and your mind rejuvenated.  It sure doesn’t hurt to help prevent those notorious holiday pounds either! 
Eat one healthy item (at least) a day. If you love to eat, like I do, it is too tough to steer clear of the holiday sugar cookies, Aunt Betty’s meatballs, or the homemade bacon wrapped scallops.  So try to balance out the gorging by keeping some healthy items on hand.  Have a bag of apples or fresh cut veggies in the fridge.  Sip on water all day- every day.  It will help keep you feeling fuller and also does wonders for your skin!
Keep school in mind.  Classes will resume before you know it. Be sure you get your supplies (books/ notebooks) before classes start. If you are an “online” student review your email periodically.  Be aware of the new “log in” procedures for eCore/eMajor and get yourself acclimated in class the first available date.

So, go ahead!  Enjoy the extended winter break!  May it be a time of restoration and peace.  If you follow a few of these outlined items it might just allow for you to have an easier transition into the spring semester.

by: Karen Lingrell, Collaborative Programs Assistant Director

1. What is your occupation? Medical Billing Specialist
2. What is your college major? Office Administration and Technology
3. How did you come about choosing this major? I work full time, and it was becoming very hard to make sure my school schedule fit with my work hours. I needed to be able to take classes online. I talked with a few people who recommended the degree program and I changed my major. It has been very helpful with my work schedule.
4. What career path do you want to take upon graduation? I really enjoy medical billing. I've changed jobs a few times in the past year, but I went right back to my old employer with the same position. I enjoy my job, and would like to further progress in the position and possibly earn the title "billing manager".
5. Why eMajor? The online courses are perfect with my work schedule. My job requires that I be available for our patients during the hours we are open. If they have billing inquiries, I need to be there to help them. Also, my job is non-stop, so there is always more to do. I was getting behind at work having to physically go to class.
6. Who is the biggest inspiration for your education? My mom. She managed to get her GED after having to drop out because my sister was born, and after I was born she managed to still go back and get her Bachelors Degree in Human Resources Management. I respect that she did not allow anything to hold her back from pursuing her dreams.
7. What is something cool you've learned this semester in eMajor? I'm in a class right now that teaches Quickbooks. I am not at all familiar with this program, but I realize I was missing out. Quickbooks is a amazing program that teaches you not only the accounting that I learned in beginning accounting classes, but also teaches me the things I did not get to learn. Payroll was the biggest thing. I have always been curious, but now I know.
8. What three words would you use to describe one of your online instructors? Organized, Responsive, Understanding
9. Where is your favorite place to visit in the USA? Helen, GA - It is so beautiful!
10. What kind of mood are you in right now, and why? I'm a little frustrated, I have an online assignment that is labeled as a "group" project, but my partner is no where to be found. I don't understand doing a group project in an online setting.
11. Your favorite study spot? The library at the VSU campus. They have an internet cafe with a small coffee place in case you need a boost of energy.
12. What is something your online classmates don't know about you? I'm originally from Kennesaw, GA. I'd never lived anywhere else until I moved to Valdosta for college.
13. Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?

I got married this semster, on October 6, my instructors were so supportive and understanding of this major life event.
(And, the poor planning on my part-which was having it during a school semester!) They worked with me and gave me all the tools I needed to succeed in class, while still abiding by their guidelines and due dates.

I received an e-mail message yesterday from eCore that I was one of their students that is “shining brightly”. They informed me that they would like for me to share my story. It is an honor to be identified as succeeding after a long dry spot. I am currently 28 years old. My mother says I am her brightest child, but also her late bloomer. She will be pleased to hear of this recognition.
I am now a bloomer with the help of the eCore program, administration, and understanding professors.

I graduated from high school with high honors after losing the remainder of my hearing. My sister and I were both born legally deaf. Nothing has ever been easy for us. During my senior year of high school, I began to experience severe depression and was diagnosed with clinical depression. Intervention was in place. I received support through medical doctors, therapists, and my family.  I attended a large university, well actually two large universities, with full scholarships before being admitted to eCore. The problem was I was not ready for the large university, and they were not ready for me. The transition from home to the adult world of college was difficult with my now two disabilities, deafness and depression. I did okay for a few weeks and then things started to spiral down.
After packing up and closing the doors on these university experiences and continuing with therapy and medicine, I found eCore and it has truly been a blessing for my family and me. I am able to pursue my degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis on Cyber Crime fully online and on my schedule. I am nearing the end of my core program at eCore ,and I almost have my Associates Degree from Valdosta University. I am looking into the online program for my BA. The eCore experience has been challenging and has renewed my confidence in myself. I am thankful for my professors and eCore.

1. What is your occupation?   None
2. What is your college major?   Criminal Justice
3. Why eCore?   Online and flexible hours.
4. Who is the biggest inspiration for your education?   My sister. She is also deaf and has just graduated with her MED in Education
5. What is something cool you've learned this semester in eCore?   POLS has been fun. I have learned so much. We actually did collaboration work and created a Mock Election with a “made up” candidate. Government is very interesting and Professor Roger Marietta is very active in discussions. He called me one night about 10 and asked if I was a procrastinator. He wanted me to take the 1st attempt on his test so he could grade it and go to bed. It still blows me away that he cared enough to call.

Chem has been fun too. Professor Douglas Stuart has been great. The cabbage
juice experiment was a mess. My mother said that her kitchen would never be the same.
6. What three words would you use to describe one of your online instructors?   Understanding, caring, interactive
7. Where is your favorite place to visit in the USA?   Tybee Island’s beaches
8. What kind of mood are you in right now, and why?   Sleepy and tired and sore. I have a kidney stone and a gallbladder stone.
9. Your favorite study spot?   My front porch
10. What is something your online classmates don't know about you?   I’m profoundly deaf. I have a cochlear implant
11. Plans beyond eCore? eMajor, etc...?   Maybe eMajor…..Cyber Crime/Criminal Justice
12. Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself? (your town, family, goals, any "shout-outs" to anyone?)   My sister, Brittany, was recently married. I am attaching a picture of me with her at her reception.  She is my inspiration.