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Once Thanksgiving is over, the season of pumpkin-flavored everything gives way to Christmas peppermint. For your Christmas parties or family get-togethers, this peppermint bark is a great (and easy) way to get a taste of the holiday.

Ingredients

  • 1 brick white chocolate almond bark
  • 1 bag dark chocolate chips
  • 1 bag round peppermint candies, unwrapped

Directions

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave and melt white chocolate almond bark, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a separate, microwave-safe bowl, microwave and melt the dark chocolate chips, stirring occasionally.
  3. Place the peppermint candies in a zip-close bag and beat until broken into small pieces. Add the peppermint to melted white chocolate almond bark and stir to combine.
  4. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and spread melted dark chocolate evenly on top. Then add the white chocolate/peppermint mixture over the dark chocolate, spreading evenly. Freeze until firm. Break into chunks to serve.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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This Christmas, one thing I’ve been trying to model for my children, especially my 3-year-old son, is a spirit of giving and thankfulness rather than a focus on the stuff. One way I am doing that is by including him in doing things for others. This candy recipe is easy enough for children of any age to help out with and makes perfect gifts for anyone who makes your day a little brighter.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter (softened)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 pounds powered sugar
  • 1 brick chocolate almond bark

Directions

  1. Add butter, sweetened condensed milk, coconut and pecans in a bowl and combine using a mixer. Then gradually mix in the powered sugar.
  2. Line a baking sheet with wax paper, roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls, and place on the sheet. Once you have used all of the mixture, chill the balls until firm.
  3. Place one brick of chocolate almond bark in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring every so often.
  4. Using a fork, dip each ball in the melted chocolate, coating it. Then place back on the baking sheet and chill once again until firm.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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Many families have those Christmas traditions that have always been there each holiday season. For the Parrett family, it was Aunt Bessie’s pumpkin bread. We have tried (and failed) to start many different holiday traditions, but this is the one that has stuck for so long; I do not even remember starting it.

I knew Christmas was around the corner when the warm, spicy smell would waft from the oven. Countless elementary school teachers have received a loaf of this bread wrapped in cellophane and red ribbon before we bounded off for Christmas break. We didn’t leave cookies for Santa. Santa liked pumpkin bread, of course! Many times I have baked it in my apartment on campus and had a twinge of homesickness when the aroma finally filled the little kitchen. This recipe has been like hot chocolate and new pajamas on Christmas Eve: it just feels right.

I never met Aunt Bessie, but when I get to heaven, I plan to thank her twice for this recipe and all of the memories it brought with it. I hope it brings a few to your home this Christmas.

Bessie’s Pumpkin Bread

Yields 18 muffins and 1 large loaf

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (1 can)
  • 1 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans (optional)
  • ½ cup walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Sift all dry ingredients (besides nuts) in a large bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients to the bowl. Stir until combined.
  4. Fold in nuts, if desired.
  5. If making muffins, bake 20-25 minutes, or until brown on top. If making a loaf, bake 45 minutes-1 hour.

-Toria Parrett, Public Relations Intern

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Cindy Hunter, executive assistant to the president

For the month of December, we’ll be sharing a holiday recipe each Friday as a part of our “HU How To” series. Today, Cindy Hunter, executive assistant to the president, shares her mother’s sweet potato casserole recipe.

“My mom died expectantly in her sleep on Dec. 21, 2013,” Hunter said. “She always made chicken and dressing and sweet potato casserole for the holidays. Since her death, I have carried that on and now make those two dishes plus what I typically make.”

Ingredients

  • 4 cups sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  1. In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
  1. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

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There’s a lot going on this weekend, and looking at the entire schedule can be a little overwhelming. Here are a few event highlights and a potential schedule for you to get the most out of your Homecoming weekend.

  1. Pick up a schedule when you arrive on campus. Homecoming schedules are placed throughout the Heritage building and student center. If you find a digital schedule more convenient for you, you can find that here: LINK.
  1. Attend a session of the Faith and Business Symposium in the College of Business Administration today. The event is going until 3 p.m.
  2. Go to the Black and Gold Banquet tonight at 5:30 p.m. Support your fellow alumni who are receiving awards, and catch up with old friends and teachers.
  3. Attend the Homecoming musical tonight or tomorrow night at 8 p.m.
  4. Right when you wake up Saturday morning, check the schedule for reunions and other events you might be interested in attending so you don’t miss something important.
  5. Stop by the First Ladies Garden at 11 a.m., and check out this new space and a fun technological feature that it includes.
  6. You might have to choose between the two, but attend a Belles and Beaux concert or a Pied Pipers show at 11 a.m. I’m sure it will be fine to come a little late after your stop at the First Ladies Garden.
  7. Tailgate in the GAC. Don’t let the rain spoil your fun before the big game at 2 p.m. Head on over to the GAC, and see who’s tailgating.
  8. Cheer on the Bison Football at 11:45 a.m. as the Walk of Brothers starts in front of the GAC. The game will be at 2 p.m.
  9. Check the schedule after the game for reunions still happening, or attend the musical at 8 p.m.
  10. Don’t forget about the Theatron show in the McInteer Rotunda at 10:30 p.m.

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Waterside Drive in North Little Rock, Arkansas

Waterside Drive in North Little Rock, Arkansas

I don’t know about the weather where you are, but here in Searcy, temperatures are getting cooler, and there are tiny traces of bright color in the trees. Here are a few ideas to get the most picturesque enjoyment out of my favorite season of the year.

1. Use tracking maps.
Locations all over the country have resources online for you to track how autumn colors are moving across the country. Just this week, National Geographic posted a photo on Instagram of a little country farm road in Vermont, and everything in the photo was orange. Foliagenetwork.com breaks down foliage reports by region and updates their site every Monday and Thursday starting in September. Another online source has a really neat interactive map of the Northeastern region of the country, and it shows you how colors are moving through the area on specific dates.

2. Visit Arkansas.
If you’ve been here, you know that some of the most beautiful autumn spots are right here in Arkansas. My favorite spot no matter the season is on Waterside Drive in North Little Rock. It’s a little neighborhood right across from a lake with tall trees hanging over the road. In the fall, the trees alongside the outer bank turn bright red and orange and reflect magically off of the water. The Old Mill, an historic site in North Little Rock, is right around the corner and also a very beautiful spot to see fall colors.

You can also track how fall colors are moving through the state of Arkansas by visiting the Arkansas Parks and Tourism foliage tracking Web page here. I look at it every Thursday so I don’t miss peek times at my favorite spots.

3. Come home for Homecoming.
The end of October should be a beautiful time to see fall foliage on campus. Homecoming is Oct. 22-25, and the front lawn should be bright with autumn color. If you can’t make it to campus, search for #FallAtHarding on Twitter and Instagram, and see the photos students, faculty and staff are posting of the changing campus.

Hannah Owens, director of news services

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A resume is your first chance to grab a recruiter’s attention, and you want it to be for the right reasons. When is the last time you revised your resume? Here are a few tips to help with updating your resume and making it stand out.

1. Remove the objective from your resume.

For years we were told to include an objective. Every resume had to have an objective, but that is a thing of the past for most companies. Remove the template language, “I am a hard-working professional seeking a sales position in the pharmaceutical industry,” because that should be obvious to an employer. Why else would you be applying for the job?

Instead of stating why you want the job, create a personal or professional summary to market yourself to a potential employer. Describe your experience, talents, and what value you bring to a future employer.

2. Write bullet points that help you stand out.

Think about how you performed a task, why the task was important, and the impact it had on the organization. When possible you want to include numbers or details that will give the recruiter a frame of reference. Here is a sample.

Basic bullet point:

  • Responsible for invoice payments, accounts receivable and financial analysis

Better bullet point:

  • Reduced the average days-outstanding for invoice payments from 60 days to 42 days
  • Develop revenue projections and financial analysis for the opening of five new U.S. offices

3. Make your sections stand out.

A recruiter is going to spend less than 30 seconds reviewing your resume. The average time spent scanning a resume is just six seconds. The main items a recruiter is looking for are name, what university you graduated from, and the last job you held. Make it easy for that person to find each of these sections on your resume by using lines to separate headings (e.g., education, experience, activities). You can also use bold, italics or all caps to help highlight headings.

4. Stick to one page.

We should all strive to keep our resumes at just one page. If a recruiter is spending just six seconds scanning a resume, do we really expect them to read what is on page two? A general rule is that you can add a page for every 10 years of work experience. I would still suggest that you may want to have a one page resume available even if you have 10 plus years of work experience.

5. Update your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn is becoming more and more important for job seekers and employers. If a potential employer liked your resume, they are going to look for you on LinkedIn. Consider LinkedIn your online resume. You can take much of what is on your paper resume and put it directly into your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you have a business appropriate photo and begin connecting with people in your industry.

Brian Harrington, director of the Center for Professional Excellence
Paul R. Carter College of Business Administration

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If I was shooting an event and could only have one photo app on my iPhone, I would definitely choose the free Google app called Snapseed. Here are a few tips on how to edit photos on your phone to make them look great.

IMG_87871. Get closer to your subject. When it comes to taking a photo, don’t just zoom in close — get physically close with your phone. I mean walk yourself over closer to your subject. Taking more than one photo is also a good idea in case one is blurry, someone blinks, or another minor photo mishap occurs. Also, it is never a bad idea to make sure you don’t have a smudge or fingerprint on your camera lens, which is not hard to do on a phone.

2. Import the photo into Snapseed. Phone photos these days are really good, but it is amazing how a little touch up with an app can make a decent photo outstanding. Snapseed breaks the editing process down into two basic areas called “tools” and “filters.”

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3. Give the photo some structure. I always start with the detail tab in tools and give my photos a little increase in structure, which is a cross between adding contrast and sharpness to the photo.

4. Tune the image. My next step is always to use the “Tune Image” tool  in the top left corner, and I make any needed exposure, contrast, and saturation adjustments that I need. After this step, I am usually done with the photo.

You can also select a filter where you can apply artistic effects such as making your photos look more like art or just simply turning them black and white. For the sunset below, I used the drama filter and also added a little extra saturation to make the colors pop.

Before

Before

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After

Jeff Montgomery/photographer

 

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The first home football game is this Saturday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. at First Security Stadium. The football team has been practicing hard, and the HU community is excited for football season to finally kick off. If you can’t make it to the first home game of the year, here’s how to watch from home.

1. Visit streaming.harding.edu at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

2. Enjoy the game.

It’s that easy! So tune in, and cheer along with us as the Bisons take on Southern Nazarene University.

Hannah Owens, director of news services

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Mornings and I are not friends. Don’t get me wrong; mornings have a lot of great things to offer: sunrises, a moment of quiet before the day begins, and a fresh start. And I think we would all agree that breakfast foods out rank all other foods. No, it’s the whirlwind that is sandwiched between my feet hitting the floor at 5:30 a.m. and getting my little brood out the door by 7:15 that has me dreading my alarm.

Recently, I started reading about how to make the most of the morning and how to keep things relatively stress free in those first hours. Here are some of the things I’ve learned that are helping me manage the morning rush.

1. Plan ahead. I plan a week’s worth of outfits for my children and myself every Sunday afternoon. It keeps me from wasting time making those decisions in the morning. I also pack everyone’s lunch and program the coffee maker the night before and set our bags for the next day by the door.

2. Obey your alarm. When my alarm goes off, I don’t hit the snooze button. Snoozing just makes you feel sleepier when you finally do get out of bed. Also, the routine of waking up at the same time every day makes early rising easier.

3. Build in some time for yourself. I get up before the rest of my family so I can get myself ready without a lot of distractions. That way I can solely focus on getting the little ones ready when they wake up. Also in that time, I read my Bible or devotional thought. Whether it’s a couple of verses or Jesus Calling entry, it’s so nice to start the day with God’s word.

4. Set a routine. Start each day the same, and do things in a similar order each day. These cues become built into your brain, which makes it easier to remember things along the way.

5. Eat the frog. This step is more for when you get to work or actually begin your daily tasks. It means to do the thing you least want to do first — which also tends to be the biggest thing. Getting it done will not only give you a sense of accomplishment that will propel you into the next task, but it will also keep it from looming over you all day.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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