Homespooled

 
In May of 2012 there was a huge batch of layoffs at my workplace.  We have a union and a bumping system in place that allows for people with more seniority who are getting laid off, to bump into the position of a person with less seniority; making the person with less seniority the one who has to go.  It's fair enough, I guess, but in May of 2012, I had only been working there for a year and a half so it wasn't very likely that i'd be keeping my job.  I found out on June 12th last summer that my last day of work would be August 17th, 2012. 

I got a call about a week before my layoff date to tell me that the person who was bumping me, had accepted a 6 month contract in another area of the company.  This meant that my layoff date was extended to February 15th, 2013.

Then, on December 19th, 2012, the day before I left for a 2 week holiday, I got a call from Human Resources to tell me that the person  who was bumping me, took another full-time contract within the company.  This meant that my job was safe!! (For now, Ha!)

Being so close to x-mas, a lot of people were out of the office (the department I work in is quite small and isolated from the rest of the company, we're about ten people in all) so there were only 3 of us, including myself, at work that day.  The other two working were my manager and Brandon, a friend of mine (the guy who got married in this post). 

Now, another one of our co-workers, Nathan, is a close friend of ours.  We all have a tendency to poke fun at each other throughout the day.  With this new knowledge of my not being laid-off, we decided it could be fun to keep it quiet and play a little prank on Nathan.  Because we have another co-worker who just can't keep a secret, we decided it was best to not tell anyone that my job was safe.  So up until last Wednesday, ALL of my other co-workers thought I was leaving! (hehehe)

To pull off the prank, last Monday, Brandon broke the news to the staff that I would indeed be leaving via email, asking them to all send him a little blurb saying what they will miss most about me.  He took all of the things that people sent him and made a Top Ten power point presentation that he would "surprise" me with at lunch on the Wednesday of that week.  He also passed around a "going away" card that he printed off to have everyone sign (Nathan was actually pissed at Brandon at this point because he thought the card was too cheap!)  My manager well, she just had to play along, and me?  I acted pissed off (which isn't that hard when you work a desk job!). 

By Wednesday, Nathan (and everybody else) was well aware that I was leaving and Nathan especially was really pissed off about it!  That day, I took my time getting my stuff together before lunch and slowly headed over to the boardroom, where we have our weekly lunches.  As I walked in, I saw this Top Ten presentation ready on the smartboard.  As I passed it, I put a confused expression on my face and asked "what's that?"  Brandon said "you'll see!", as everyone either made a little smirk or looked at my sympathetically.

As we were all finishing our lunches Brandon passed me the card he'd made and said that they had prepared something special for my departure.  I played along and read what everyone wrote (it was actually quite touching).  Here is my favourite message:
Then, Brandon went over to the smart board and began the power point presentation.  The things people would miss about me included: "her unique sense of humour", "how she picks on Nathan", "how she buys too many bananas so she makes cupcakes out of them that her coworkers have to eat", "her Honey Boo Boo impressions", "her near-Vulcan logic and efficiency" and " her incessant need to compare her coworkers to different band members". (I have a co-worker who VERY closely resembles Liam from One Direction.)

Finally, as the last slide, with one click, the line: What is Krystel going to miss about us? With a second click came this picture of me pointing and laughing and the caption: Pranking Nathan!!!! (and as a result, everyone else!!!!!)
Faces = priceless.  I wish I had it on camera, I really do.  The whole thing just played out beautifully!  So to make the "prankees" feel a little better about being duped, I brought, of course, cupcakes!!

To make these black forest cake inspired cupcakes, start off with a batch of chocolate cupcakes.  Then carve a hole into the top-centre.  I used one of those grapefruit spoons for this part and it worked wonderfully.
Fill each cupcake with some cherry pie filling, then pipe (or scoop) a good amount of coconut whipped cream onto each one. 
Top with sprinkles and serve to "prankees".
Nothing like adding a little humour to the workplace...and topping it with sprinkles.  Oh and my fabulous "going away" card?  It's hanging over my desk :)
 
 
The first time I tasted a leek, I was working at a produce market in high school.  Between the bakery and deli, there was a table with two huge cauldrons on it.  Every day there was hot soup and that is what I normally bought for my lunch break.  My absolute favourite was the potato leek soup.  I would often buy extra so that I could take some home.  Here is my take on it:

MAKES: approx. 11 cups
TIME: 45 minutes

 

Yarn!!!

02/08/2013

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I make lists for everything, at work and at home.  My main list is simply titled "To do" and is always saved on my little R2-D2 usb drive.  I often add timelines to certain tasks, and sometimes make a separate to-do list of things that need to be done that week.  One thing that has been on my list since November was to organize my yarn.  Well, I finally did it. 
I wish I had taken more photos of my yarn in its disorganized state to show you as before pictures, but all I have is this snapshot (right) of a very tiny portion of it.  The rest was in boxes and bins, in the bottom of closets, in cupboards in my laundry room, even in my garage.  There was no organization to it at all, so you can imagine my frustration when I would be looking for a certain type, knowing that I must have it, but simply unable to find it.

I knew what I had to do.  I just didn't know how long it would take.  I knew I had to do it when the kids weren't around because this wouldn't be the type of project you can put on pause once you've started.

So on Sunday, 2 weeks ago, after the kids left for their dad's place,  I gathered up all my yarn and lugged it upstairs to my living room.  I found myself a spot in the middle of it all, put some original series Star Trek on the tube, and got to it.
On Day 3 of Operation: Yarn, I finally saw hope.  The end was near.  I had first separated all of my yarn by weight: fine, worsted & bulky (I wasn't about to go into categories like sport, dk, super bulky, etc.).   Then for each weight of yarn, I sorted it all by colour.  This left for many small piles all over the living room. (Many of which are behind where Señor was standing to take the photo picture above.)

In a separate pile, I had all of the balls of yarn that I am keeping for larger or special projects.  This included the more pricey skeins and anything that I had A LOT of in the exact same colour/dye lot.

It was finally time to box everything up.  I found boxes and bins and pails and I stored all of my wonderfully organized yarn in them keeping them separated by weight & colour.  They now all fit neatly stacked in the closet of my spare room, adorned with ugly but very practical masking tape labels :) Mission: complete.
During this time, Señor was busy doing prep work and correction for his classes so he pretty much stayed in the bedroom the whole first night.

On Day 2 of Operation: Yarn, Señor ventured out of the bedroom to find me sitting in the middle of a few piles (pictured: left).  He burst out laughing and ran to get the camera, which is the only reason why I have a photo of the "in progress" to show you.  I was so determined to finish on Day 2, there was no way I was stopping to pick up my camera. (Yes, that's a bowl of candy canes on the coffee table.  I'll stop for a candy cane...)
 
 
It's cold.  It's cold outside, and it's cold in my office.  What better way to warm up than with a warm bowl of delicious, spicy soup?

MAKES: 6 servings of just over 2 cups each (approx 13 cups)
TIME: 45 minutes

 
 
I'm sure many of you have noticed that I like posting about food.  Whether it be a recipe or a tutorial, the Kitchen section on this site is my favourite.  I've been debating setting up another site just for that, or revamping Homespooled to sort of highlight that section, making it easier to navigate.  Well, since Homespooled.com has been named one of the Top 100 Food Blogs to Follow in 2013 by couponaudit.com (#95), option 2 seems pretty obvious! Why change a good thing, right?

Check out the infographic below and explore some food blogs you never heard of!   May I suggest Happy Herbivore at #14? She's been one of my favourites for a long time :)

 
 
So you know the moment (or the various moments throughout your lifetime) that you realize you've been living under a rock?  There are different ways to reside under rocks.  It could be that you put that rock there on purpose to avoid knowing about certain things you may find annoying.  Like the latest What's Up!? about One Direction or the Biebs.  OR, it could be a big, fat, Surprise! rock that make you say HOLY CRAP!! And leaves you feeling old, behind the times, left out, stupid or all of the above.

Well, I had me a surprise rock a few weeks ago.  And let me tell you, it was a doozy.  For those of you who don't know me, I'm a little obsessed with books.  A little.  And by a little, I mean not a little.  A lot.  You see, I started to read full novels on a regular basis when I was 9 years old.  Since that time, I've read every single day, at any time of day, and always before bed time, even on a night that I have one, two or six drinks.  If I'm having a lazy day, I'll sit in a chair and read for most of it.  If I'm having a hard week, am stressed out or sad, you can find me at Chapters or Bay Used Books (a local used book store that I've adored since I was very young).  New (or new to me) books make me happy.

I have four bookshelves in my living room (I get away with it because Señor has a giant foosball table in there too) containing all different genres from comics to resource materials.  Over the holidays, I reorganized some of these (this was the time we added the fourth bookshelf to the existing three) and decided it would be a good idea to log the books I own.  When I do go to Chapters, or Bay's I like to have a list with me of books that I want, or need to complete a set.  Since there are so many, I often forget some, or don't quite remember what book I'm up to in a series.
 
So I took out my tablet, started a document called Book List and began listing the books I own in order of the author's last name.  This is actually fun to have because I can flag a book that's been lent out and specify to whom and on what date.  Also, when I'm done reading a book and it's time to make the horrible difficult decision on what to read next, I now ask Señor to choose a number between one and whatever number my list goes up to, and if it's a book I have yet to read, that's the winner!  (I've actually made 3 separate documents: one for novels, fiction and non, one for comics and graphic novels and one for reference books.)

When book hunting, I often Google things like: best dystopian novels of all time, or must-read classics, things like that.   Recently, I've noticed more and more of the results coming from goodreads.com.  I didn't really look into this too much, I just checked out the books on the lists and moved on.  Then, during my vacation, on about January 2nd, I was at Bay's browsing through some titles when I overheard a discussion between the store clerk and a customer.  It's not like I was eavesdropping or anything, but the woman was speaking quite loudly and I just couldn't help but overhear.

They were talking about Fifty Shades of Grey and how horribly written they thought it was.  The customer mentioned how she has a lot of friends who once they start a book, HAVE to finish it.  She said that she didn't have that problem.  There were so many books she wanted to read that she just didn't bother on a book that she knew she wouldn't like from the first little bit.  Then she made mention to the reviews Fifty Shades received on Goodreads.  There it was again!  What the hell is Goodreads

When I got home, I added my new books to my Book List and then remembered that I wanted to check out Goodreads. WELL. This was a living-under-a-rock moment if I've ever had one.  I'm a knitter and a total slave to Ravelry.com (Anyone who knits or crochets and doesn't know what Ravelry is? Kaboom!! I totally just busted up your Ravelry Rock.).  Goodreads is like that but for books!! You can list all your books, you can review them, check out reviews on other books, organize your books into shelves and check off books you want to read later...needless to say I spent about 2 straight days organizing my Goodreads page.  I. Love. It.

So, for everyone who already knew about Goodreads, shame on you for not telling me about it sooner!  For those who didn't, go check it the f*** out, it is going to BLOW YOUR MIND.  Oh and while you're at it, add me as a friend!  My username is KrystelDallas :)

I wonder how many more rocks I'm living under?
 
 
Okay, three cakes in a row!? You betcha!  Last one, I swear! (for now)  A friend of mine had a themed birthday party this past Friday to celebrate her "Great 28!"  The theme was 90s.  At first I was a little dumbfounded.  Nothing in the 90s really stood out, did it?  I think that was just my mommy brain being completely ridiculous.  In the 90s I went from being 5yrs old to 15yrs old.   Clearly, a million fads and styles came and went during that time.  It just took a little Googling for me to remember what they were.  Let me tell you, when I started realizing what they were, all the memories came flooding back.

 
 
Another cake already!!  This one was made for my now 3-year-old-obsessed-with-TMNT-and-that's-awesome.  His birthday falls between Xmas and New Year's, so I like to do something extra special for him (cause you know, a whole week of presents isn't enough, hahaha).

 
 
A few weeks ago, we had a big meeting at work at which our department Director would be in attendance.  Since she is retiring at the end of December, my manager asked me to bake a cake as a farewell to her.  It was a cute little (maybe not so little!) cake that everyone just loved.   Some of the people that were responsible for organizing the formal retirement party for our Director were also at that meeting, and approached me about making the cake for that day as well.  Of course I agreed. 

I had every intention of making a simple chocolate cake to feed anywhere from 40 - 80 people (since we had no idea how many people were to show up!), but then the wheels started turning and when I found out she was passionate about fishing and planned to spend a good amount of her retirement out on her dock, I just couldn't help myself...

 
 
Making your own hummus is really quite easy.  All you need are the right ingredients and a food processor (or blender).  Plus, when you make your own, you get to decide how thick or thin you want it.  I like it thicker for dipping, but thinner for wraps.  You can also add your own unique touch to it like I did here with the chipotle, which adds a nice spicy and smoky flavour.

MAKES: approx. 2 cups
TIMES: 15-20 minutes

 

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