Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why my nephew is a magician.

This kid,
he is a magician.
You see

17 years ago

this kid, this itty bitty tiny baby,
the very first time that I ever, in my whole life, was an aunt, holding my 9-hour old nephew
turned me into an aunt!
And now

I can never
not be an aunt again.
Millikin University, Fall Family Weekend, 1999
And that makes me happy.

Happy Birthday Nate!

Monday, March 24, 2014


*to be read in the voice of the late, great, Crocodile Hunter*

G'day mates!  Thanks for coming, we have a great blog for you today!

For today's blog, we go to the old Mailbag!  What's in here today?

Ah, we have a comment from Loretta!
Well, hey there Loretta, you're looking great today!

Isn't she gorgeous!?!

Oh, sorry, Chuck Norris, I didn't see you standing there....

Right, back to the Mailbag!  On yesterday's post, a lovely little thing about making two birthday cakes and homemade frosting, Loretta asks

What is this thing you call "home-made"???

Well, crikey Loretta!  I'm glad you asked!

You see, some people don't have a fulfilling hobby to fill their time, a hobby like crocodile hunting, or quilting.  Those people, for some unknown reason, spend their time using ingredients to make food that the rest of us just purchase at the store already made!

Now I know what you're thinking - Crikey, why would they do that?!?!

And it's a good question.  Problem is, I'm too busy hunting crocodiles to study these odd creatures long enough to find out.

Thank you Loretta for the question!  Everyone out there, be safe, and keep the questions coming!

See Ya Later, Mate!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I made two chocolate chocolate birthday cakes last week

A long, long time ago, in a land (I'm not sure how) far away, a boy was born.  A cute little ginger boy.

And Tuesday was his 44th birthday.

Happy Birthday honey!
When I asked Jeff what kind of birthday cake he wanted, he said that he wanted chocolate with chocolate "but nothing fancy."  Um, does that meant that last year's cake was too fancy?  I mean, all I did was crunch up Oreos, put them in chocolate pudding, and use it as the filling...  which kept the cake very moist, I might add!  He loves his chocolate cake to be moist...

Okay, so chocolate with chocolate.  And then I though, "I'll make homemade frosting!"  Colleen suggested butter frosting, so I found a recipe on Apple Crumbles (via Pinterest, of course) that looked good.

Jeff also likes his cakes to be super-duper moist, so instead of oil, I used heavy cream in the mix (yes, I used boxed cake mix).  Using my hand mixer, first I mixed up the eggs really well, then added the cream (the amount that it called for oil), and then I mixed that up really well also.  Like, on the way to making whipped cream. Um, I might have substituted some cream for some of the water it called for too.   Yep.  While the cake cooled, I made frosting.

Makes about 1 3/4 cups to 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 1/2 cups un-sifted confectioners sugar
  • 4 TBS hot water
  • 1 tsp. water
In a small bowl, blend the butter and chocolate with an electric mixer.  Gradually beat in the sugar alternating with the warm water.  Place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water and beat until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.

Huh, I just realized that I didn't add in vanilla, because it wasn't in the ingredients list...  So, if you're going to make that, maybe put in a little bit of vanilla, for depth or something.  Also, I'm thinking it would have been yummier if I had just used some Nutella instead of melting chocolate.

I didn't think it would make enough frosting, so I doubled everything except the chocolate (and believe me, it was chocolaty enough...).  Rhyanne and I tried it, liked it, so I frosted the cake.

I frosted the cake without Jeff trying the frosting first.  

That was a mistake.

After the cake was frosted, Jeff tried the frosting and said "I guess it will do."  And he wasn't joking.  He didn't like it.  I got upset that I had made this cake with home-freaking-made frosting, and he didn't like it?!?!?

That was Monday.

Tuesday morning, after wishing Jeff a happy birthday and heading to work, I realized that it was my mistake, not his fault.  He said "but nothing fancy" and I didn't listen to him.  I didn't listen to Jeff about what he wanted for his own birthday cake.  And then I got mad at Jeff for not liking what I made.  I was the jerk.

So, who really wants to be at work on a Tuesday?  I asked for permission to leave early, did so, and promptly made a second cake.  I still did the thing with the heavy cream, but this time I used canned chocolate frosting.

And Jeff was happy.

The happiness might have been from the fact that I made homemade pizza, but oh well...  A happy birthday boy is all that counts.

My coworkers sure did like the homemade frosting...

What's your favorite birthday cake?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Why last night was the best hockey game I've been to.

The first time I went to a hockey game it was a Men's UW Badger game, and I was going with a coworker (2002).  It took me 2 periods to be able to know where the puck was.  It was fun, but crowded.

The second time I went was with a friend and her sister & friend.  It was also a Men's UW Badger Game, probably around 2004 or 2005.  I had been given free tickets from a coworker.  Again, crowded, and this time the dynamic was a bit awkward...

In 2010, Jeff, Rhyanne, and I went to a Women's UW Badger game, which was fun, but in the Kohl Center with low attendance.  The atmosphere was very low key and (no offense girls) kinda boring.

Jeff & I went to a Stoughton game in 2011, but we got there late and sat in the visitor's section, so, again, awkward...

Last month I had the opportunity to go to a Men's UW Badger game in a Hospitality Suite.  That was sweet!  I went with people from work, and had a good time.  BUT our suite was in the middle of the student section, and their chants have become quite, uh, not family friendly.  When the coworker I drove with was ready to go, so was I.  But it wasn't because of the game, it was because of the students.  That was disappointing.
at the Kohl Center

playing with the panorama function on my phone

But last night, last night was the best hockey game I've been to.  Kiaj and Jereyl had come up on Friday to surprise Jeff for a birthday weekend, and we decided attending the UW Madison vs. Harvard Women's Hockey game would be something fun to do!
hey, where you goin' Bucky?
We were lucky to get tickets - which we did online in the AM.  We got tickets in Row 1 - so we were right up on the glass.  Look at Bucky up there - that's not zoomed!  Standing up we were right on the glass.  At one point a puck hit the glass HARD, right in front of Kiaj & Jereyl, and they totally flinched.  Darn good thing that glass was there.
This game was in a much smaller arena, and it was full.  There was great energy the entire time, and the chants were very PG.  In fact, when the announcer said that there was one minute left in the period, the crowd responded with "Thank you!"  The crowd was on the whole time, and the game was really action-packed.
panorama didn't work out so well on this one...  we were sitting in the bottom left, right on the glass
It was a great time, so much fun to be there with everyone.  Best hockey game I've every been to!

the happy Hartwigs

Saturday, March 15, 2014

WTF Pinterest!?!?

I love to just scroll through "Everything" on Pinterest.  Starting this morning, it's not an option.  I've already emailed their support to ask WTF.  In the mean time, I'm stewing.  That's what I spend 80% of my time looking at, on my phone.

Anyone else have this change happen on their phone?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pinterest Recipe FAIL: Cauliflower Casserole

I like cauliflower.  I like it raw; I like it in California mix.  So when I saw this recipe for Cauliflower Casserole, I thought it sounded like a good dish to try.  Rhyanne does NOT like cauliflower, so I decided to make it for lunch during my stay-cation.

Cauliflower Casserole

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked & cubed
1 package cauliflower
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 bundle green onions, sliced
4 ounces bacon pieces
1/8 t garlic powder
Salt & pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Steam cauliflower until tender.
  3. Meanwhile, combine cheeses in a large bowl. Remove ¼ of cheese and set aside. Stir chicken, green onions, bacon, and garlic powder into remaining cheese.
  4. Stir cauliflower into cheese mixture and season with salt & pepper. Pour into a 9×13 glass baking dish. Top with additional cheese.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Okay, this stuff was BAD.  Rancid even.  I had never noticed that taste that cooked cauliflower gets until I tried this casserole.  I tried to eat it, I mean, it had bacon and cheese and should have been extremely delicious (not to mention 3-4 lunches during that week off), but instead of my tummy, it went in the garbage.

FAIL, Pinterest, huge FAIL.