Productivity at its Finest!

Gary and I were so darn productive last night I couldn't help but blog about it. I came home from work with a list 3 hours long of what I wanted to accomplish. It looked something like this:

3:10-3:30: (G&V) Organize all clothes (bedroom, extra bedroom, hallway, stairs, living room, dinig room, extra room) Yes, a lot of it is mine but you have some around as well so you need to participate
3:30-      : (V) Put in Vanessa's load of laundry
3:40-3:50: (V) Finish vacuuming bedroom
3:50-4:00: (G&V) organize extra bedroom and hallway - I'll just need your help moving the white drawers back in to the bedroom along with the nightstand I made
4:00-      : (V) Put load of laundry in dryer
4:10-4:30: (V) Finish organizing extra bedroom and hallway if needed
4:30-4:40: (V) Vacuum extra bedroom, hallway and stairs
4:40-5:00: (G&V) Organize living room and dining room - pick up trash, cardboard, recycling, etc; make it look nice and organized
5:00-5:15: (V) Vacuum living and dining room
5:15-5:30: (G&V) Fold and put away laundry
5:30-6:00: (G&V) Put clean dishes away and make dinner! Baked Tilapia Tacos!!!
And by golly, we just about made it! Gary took FOREVER to fold his clothes, 18 minutes longer to be exact. And guess what? I was done making dinner AND cleaning the kitchen at 6:17pm.
Yeah buddy!


Merry Christmas Wiest Style

It's now only 6 days until Christmas and guess what I've got? The hankering to make our holiday card of course! Sadly enough, we don't have any cardstock in the house and there's no way I'm blazin the trails to Wal-Mart for the next few days. During a blizzard? No thanks.

So, instead, we wish you a happy holidays from right here! (you can click on it to see the actual size)


Best Song Ever

Here's the latest obsession - yes, I heard it first on our NOW! 44 CD constantly playing in our car.  It reminds me of college :)

But please, ignore the video. Not what my college experience looked like!

Give Me Your Hand (Best Song Ever) by The Ready Set


Home Renovations

I haven't told Gary this yet but I decided this morning that we need a plan for all the home remodel ideas I've got floating around upstairs. This plan is going to be my favorite document over the next few years.

Why you ask?
1. It's in Excel. I LOVE EXCEL!
2. It will have different tabs for each "phase" and can track progress for each one.
3. It's in Excel. I really do love excel.
4. It will be a challenge that I have to win! Our house needs some help!
5. It will create motivation where as right now there is none.
6. It will help prioritize spending and savings on a better scale than we do now.

I felt really energized to do this because I saw a magazine at the home of the people I nanny for. It was a before&after magazine from none other than my favorite magazine - BHG! Yeah buddy. After taking a quick glance while feeding my little bugger friend, Jack, I took away that one of the most important tasks when doing a remodel is the planning beforehand. It said to have everything figured out before demo day: finances, finishes, equipment, appliances, etc. So that's what I decided we needed to do! Besides, I've been so overwhelmed with all my ideas that this will help sort out all the mess in my head.

Here's my list:

Current Project
Adobe CS6
Desktop computer with enough umph to handle design software

Phase 1 - to be completed by mid-2013
Cosmetic changes - paint in living room, master bedroom
New trim - white
New window trim - white
New inside doors - white
New closet doors - white

Phase 2

Part 1 - Extra Room --> Half bath (possibly 3-piece bath) - to be completed by mid-2014
new subfloor?
shower stall?
bathroom door
close off room to kitchen

Part 2 - Upstairs Bathroom - to be completed by mid-2015
new subfloor?
vanity/sink - double sink (PLEASE!!)
tub/shower combo
closet or enough shelf or storage in vanity
wall tiles
exhaust through roof

Phase 3 - to be completed mid-2016
new kitchen sink
new dishwasher
new stove
new coutertop
new hardware

new washer
new dryer
new stairs to basement



I wish you could see the excitement on my face! I know this is not our forever home but that doesn't mean we can leave a little Wiest stamp all over the place - it needs a little updating here and there is all. And really, who doesn't want another bath in this house? I most certainly do! There's also a Phase 4 if we ever get to it - that'd be to update our garage into a double or 1-stall with lots of storage space/shelving


More Halloween Crafting!

I decided that we need a little more Halloween on our porch. With the pumpkins that we didn't end up doing anything with in Elkader, I spray-painted instead! They turned out EXACTLY the way I wanted.

Can't wait for the Trick-or-Treaters! (I can't keep eating all this candy!)

What's for Dinner {11} - Sister, Sister Style!

I really wanted to get together with Bridget and Drew before they have baby Camp. Luckily for me, I had not only Friday night off, but all day Saturday so I asked if they wanted to hang out with Gary & I. Yay for living near my pregnant sister!! We opted for lunchtime on Saturday so that we could cook, eat, hang out and check out the church where we're having baby Camp's shower in a few weeks.

The church will be an amazing backdrop for the shower. I have so many good ideas in this ol' noggin but that will be a blog for another day.

Here are the NEW recipes we made:

Bridget's potato casserole with a crispy cornflake topping - a hodgepodge of items she had in the house: potatoes, sour cream, onions, cheese, cream of chicken, etc - We thought it was pretty good but thought it could use more cheese.

Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken - 5 stars! So easy and really good :)

*1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*1 package Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix
*1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
*6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix cheese, dressing mix and garlic powder. Moisten chicken breasts with water; coat with cheese mixture. Place in shallow baking dish. Bake 20 to 25 min. or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes with a Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

*1 1/4 cups cake flour
*1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*2 eggs
*3/4 cup sugar
*1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
*1/2 cup oil (vegetable, canola or extra light olive oil)
*1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350*F. In a medium bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together with whisk, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds.  Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds.  Add vanilla and oil, beat. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture.  Add half of the milk, then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk.  Beat until just combined.  Scrap down the side of the bowl. The batter will be thin.   Pour batter into a muffin pan prepared with paper liners.  Fill liners about 2/3 full. Bake cupcakes in pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes. Cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan (carefully) and finish cooling on a wire rack. Frost as desired when fully cool.  

* A note about Cake Flour-  Cake Flour has a lower protein content than traditional all-purpose flour, which results in a more tender, delicate crumb in the finished product.  If you can not find or access cake flour, feel free to substitute as necessary, but your results will vary from the original recipe.

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

*3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
*8 oz (1 block) cream cheese
*4 cups powdered sugar
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*3 Tablespoons fresh raspberry puree (from about 1/2 cup fresh raspberries)

In the bowl of a large electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese, and beat further until the butter and cream cheese are fully incorporated and smooth. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Add vanilla. Again, with the mixer on low, add the raspberry puree, one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating, increasing speed to medium for about 30 seconds. Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, and the moisture in your berries, the frosting may be on the soft side. I put the whole bowl of finished frosting in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to help the frosting firm up. If needed, you could add an additional cup of powdered sugar.

Thanks for a lovely meal, Drew & Bridget & Baby!!

And of course, I can't leave out Brisco!! He was sooooooo fun to play with!

 But perhaps the cutest of all, was miss Bridget and baby. I can't wait to be an aunite again :)


Door Decor {1} - Halloween Crafts!

I have Gary to thank for this post. He mentioned to me the other day that Halloween was coming up. Thanks for the reminder, Gspice, but I already knew that. Silly boy. No, the real reason he brought it up was that he was really concerned the kiddos wouldn't know that we had candy unless we decorated our porch.

So that is what I did.

Click HERE for the tutorial I followed.

Now ALL the kids will know we have candy. And lots of it!


What's for Dinner {10}

I woke up today really craving some pasta. Yeah, that's not all that unusual but I didn't want to have to go anywhere to buy ingredients so I had to use things I already had. Speaking of which, I don't have much. But alas, I figured out a good and super easy recipe that was actually pretty darn good.

Roasted Garlic, Brown Butter and Parmesan Pasta


* 1 lb. angel hair pasta
* 4 Tbs. butter
* 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
* 1 - 1 1/2 cups Parmesan, shredded
* 1-2 cups water from pasta
* salt and pepper
* Italian leaf parsley - I also added this because I have a bunch leftover from another recipe


Cook pasta according to directions. Note Before draining the pasta, dip out 1-2 cups of the water and set aside. 

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic to skillet. Cook several minutes until garlic is roasted and butter is golden brown in color. Remove from heat.

Add garlic butter and Parmesan to pasta. Ladle cooking water into pasta, tossing to melt cheese. Use enough water to get a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

I made a much smaller portion for myself but boy it was tasty!


We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Yes, I do love the Taylor Swift version of her own song but I love this one performed by Anthem Lights too. Maybe even more..


Sweets & Treats {2}

Gary started a new job (that he and I both LOVE) at the end of June. On numerous occasions he's spoken about and sent me pictures of all the fun treats people bring in for their birthdays. Months before his own birthday, Gary made sure I knew that we had to make something for him to bring in. I was completely on board and even made sure I had the Sunday prior (which was his actual birthday) off so that I could get all the ingredients together and bake.

I gave him a few options off of my Treats & Sweets Pinterest Board and he chose the following recipe:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares

*2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
*1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*3/4 teaspoon salt
*1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
*1 1/4 cups sugar
*1 large egg
*2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*1 cup canned pumpkin puree
*1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.

The recipe was a success - Every last square was eaten before the pan was brought home! Because of that, I decided to make this recipe again along with another for Bridget & Drew's SWAP Meet event that weekend. What's kinda cool about both of these is that I had photocopied both of them from a Martha Stewart magazine probably 7-8 years ago. How cool that I made them both in one week!

Not-So-Giant Ginger Cookies

*2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 tablespoon ground ginger
*1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
*1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
*3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
*1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
*1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for coating
*6 tablespoons molasses
*1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, allspice, and pepper.

With an electric mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. With mixer on low, gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 20 minutes.

Divide dough into twelve 2-inch balls. Place remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a bowl. Roll balls in sugar to coat; place at least 4 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten into 3-inch rounds. Sprinkle with sugar remaining in bowl.

Bake until brown, rotating sheets halfway through, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Just half of what we brought to the SWAP Meet!

Camp Powersports 2012 Event

Miss Vanessa didn't go to work today because she's got a wicked sore throat and what-she-believes-to-be a low grade fever. I usually sit at a solid 97.7 degrees. However, I'm hovering at 98.1-3. That to me is a low-grade fever :)

Anyhoo, what better way to spend a boring day at home than with catching up on my posting! Get excited.

This is what our little nugget is doing as I type:

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I can't really type when he's awake. He likes to sneak attack my fingers and will lick the screen...


My sister and bro-in-law held their very first SWAP meet on September 28. It was such a beautiful day for the meet and Gspice & I could not be more excited. I was excited to try out a couple new recipes which I'll share in my next post but also to see Bridget's growing belly and their spastic dog, Brisco. He's an awesome dog but we don't get to see him nearly as much as we'd like.

I can't say that these activities are our cup of tea as we don't own any snowmobiles or the like nor do I have any interest in riding one, but I had a great time helping out and taking photos. Can't wait for next year!

My most favorite photo of the day was of Drewski himself!

Here are some of the other fun photos I had fun taking:

Making the sale!

They worked so hard selling those raffle tickets!


I love the look of all these trucks in front of the store :)

The best helpers by far!

walking tacos!

So close!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What's for Dinner {9} - two new recipes!!

I've been dying to make this soup for soooo long after having tried it at work one night a few months back. I always thought that using asparagus in soup was a little odd but seriously, it was so good. I finally mustered up the courage to make it but sadly, I didn't like it very much. It was much too soupy for me. I wanted it to be thick. It definitely was not thick. Maybe next time. Good news - Gary liked it! He usually doesn't like my food so that's a win!

Here are the two recipes we made on September 27, 2012:

Cheese and Bacon Potato Rounds

*4 baking potatoes, cut in to 1/2" slices
*1/4 c melted butter
*4 slices bacon - cooked and crumbled
*8 oz shredded Cheddar cheese
*1/2 c chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

Brush both side of potato slices with butter; place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated 400 degrees F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides, turning once. 

When potatoes are ready, top with bacon, cheese, and green onion; continue baking until the cheese has melted.

Mmmm. Mmmmm. SO good.

Cream of Asparagus Soup

*1 pound of fresh asparagus, cut into ½ pieces. Reserve Tips.
*1 small onion - diced
*1 small minced garlic clove
*4 cups chicken broth
*1 cup heavy cream
*3 to 4 tablespoons butter/margarine
*3 to 4 tablespoons flour
*salt and pepper

Sweat onions in a pan until cooked through. Melt butter or margarine and add flour making a roux. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Do not brown. Add chicken broth and chopped asparagus and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Add cream and season with salt and pepper. Add asparagus tips and cook for a few more minutes. Puree soup.

Again, this was way too soupy for me. Perhaps I should have used for flour in the roux but I also have some other recipes pinned that use potatoes. That might make it a thicker/creamier soup that I want.

I'd rate this a success. Though I didn't care for the soup as much, the potatoes filled me up :)