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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Well, thank you for accepting my money...

Dear Alice,

Your XXXX order has been accepted and will be shipped when ready!

XXXX Shipping Rep

Well, thank YOU for accepting my money.  Where is YOUR thank you for my order???  I did get a couple of nice deals from this company but their communication skills are sorely lacking, in my opinion.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Retail Madness -- Not for Me!

S. took Beauty out for a walk on Thursday night, then decided to drive around a bit (she loves sticking her head out of the window).  Next thing I know, he calls me from the outlet mall, telling me it's open and there are lots of people.  I told him -- have fun if you like but I don't feel like fighting crowds for questionable deals.  The crazy guy stayed out all night, calling and waking me up periodically, happily reporting his purchases.  Apparently, the dog and her master had a good time.  She loves people-watching and he loves browsing through stores.  I had a relatively restful night (if you don't count calls every couple of hours).  It's a good thing that I can carry a "conversation" while mostly asleep -- I just put the phone on speaker and mumbled responses when prompted (or most of them anyway) until he would find another "deal" and promise to call back.  Sure, honey, carry on...  Another good thing is that I can fall back asleep fairly easy most of the time.

They came back around 8:00 am, tired.  I was awake and well rested, enjoying a morning cup of coffee and watching shopping madness on TV (that's as close as I am willing to get to it, thank you very much).  S. refused to show me all purchases so I am assuming those were my presents???  S. can't keep secrets for long so I am sure he will spill sooner or later, lol.

I did buy a few things online, after tracking prices for a few months, so I know for sure I saved a bit of money.  Not much but probably more than most of these crazy people who don't realize that retailers often jack up prices and then post huge discounts, luring people into thinking they are saving buckets of money.  Yeah, sure...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Crockpot Apples

In many cases, simple recipes are more delicious than those with a long list of ingredients and instructions.  Even though we always have quite a few desserts for holiday meals, this one is always my favorite.  While whole baked apples look nicer, they do take space, especially if baked in the oven.  This simple dish takes just a few minutes to throw together and smells so good while cooking, while other dishes are served...  If there are any leftovers (not likely), these apples are awesome with oatmeal.

Everybody was stuffed today and so I just kept my apples on Warm for a couple of hours until everybody was ready for dessert.  Fancy desserts were forgotten as people lined up for this simple treat.  I decorated each serving with fresh mint leaves and planned to take pictures.  Yeah, sure...  I was barely able to save a serving for myself! :)  S. gobbled up his and was trying to sweet-talk me into sharing.  I don't love him that much! ;)

Ingredients (8 small servings -- tripled today):
  • 4 large apples, cored and sliced (not too thinly, maybe 1/4 inch)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 stick light butter (Land O'Lakes is my favorite because it still tastes like real butter), sliced
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Optional:  cranberries, raisins, nuts, etc.
Core and slice apples, toss with brown sugar.   Add to the crockpot.  Arrange butter slices on top.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Cook on medium for 2-3 hours (or on low for 4-5 hours) or until done.  Serve a la mode.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A bit of retail therapy...

One of our work-study students was selling things from Celebrate Home catalog a couple of months ago.  I knew that she was struggling financially and so purchased several items, then promptly forgot (given my crazy schedule, it's a miracle I can remember anything, lol).  My stuff arrived today, just in time for the cooler weather.

Bean Pot

Bean Pot Basket 


Monday, November 21, 2011

Where have you been???

I have several students this semester who are totally clueless (and have been since Day 1 -- I posted about this issue earlier).  Having taught for the past 15 years, I have had my share of such students but honestly don't remember any of them being this bad...  really...

It seems like every time I am explaining something, these same students ask stupid questions (yeah, yeah -- there are no stupid questions; but there are!).  For example, I would describe and demo how to, say, create a chart.  Students would ask questions.  Everybody "gets it."  A few minutes later, one of my "problem" students' hand shots up.  "How do I create a chart?"  There is a collective groan of frustration but this individual is usually unfazed.

In case you're wondering, I do utilize various instructional methods, catering to various learning styles.  I do remove potential distractions (e.g., students are not allowed to access personal websites or text, I move around the room, I frequently stand behind them so I can see computer monitors, I do ask questions to keep students on task, I don't lecture for long periods of time, I ask students to follow my demos so they are actively engaged).  Yet, apparently, I can't stop certain individuals from daydreaming (or whatever they are doing).  And it's not a one-time deal, either...

Oh, and these students usually request (and often demand!) extra credit, even though they snoozed through regular course assignments.  Profgrrrrl had a great post about this type of students a few days ago.  She describes my "problem" students perfectly.

Just received an email from one of these students, asking a question we discussed ad nauseam for the past several weeks.  What do I tell this student???  "Where have you been???"  Can't -- will definitely show up on my course evals and, more importantly, this question won't accomplish anything.

I worry about these students...  How will they function in the workplace?  What can I do to snap them out of this apathy (or whatever it is)?

Saturday, November 19, 2011


We have some leftover mashed potatoes so I am making Duchess Potatoes for lunch.  Also, making eggplant roll ups.  This fresh bread completes our lunch.  Bread is baking now while I am making potatoes and S. is grilling eggplant.  Teamwork! :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

It seems like everybody is making butternut squash soup so guess what was for dinner tonight? ;)
Here is my version.  It was super yummy and even S., who usually does not care about soups, had two bowls and said he really liked it!!!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks (S. and his muscles helped)
  • 1 large onion,  peeled and quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tart, firm apples, peeled, cored, and quartered (or pears)
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted and divided in half
  • 4-5 cups homemade chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 lean bacon strips, finely chopped (use center-cut, only 23 cals per slice)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Toss the squash, onions, garlic, and apples with the butter to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast stirring every 10 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
  4. Finely chop bacon and fry until crispy.  Drain.
  5. Place half of the vegetables with 2 cups of stock in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  6. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and 2 more cups of stock.
  7. Heat the pureed mixture in a soup pot and add bacon, parsley, and more salt/pepper (if needed).  If it's too thick, add more chicken stock (or cream, if you like it).
  8. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  9. Serve with fresh crusty bread.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hmmm... apparently, I don't know my name...

So I get a phone call from a rude telemarketer, even though my number has been on no-call list for a long time. This individual than proceeds to insist that my last name is Alice. I told her that surely I know my own first name. She pointed out that, per HER computer records, my last, not first, name is Alice. Then she had an audacity to hang up on me! Goodness gracious, what is wrong with some people???

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