Monday, April 14, 2014

dinner idea: brats and kraut

I grew up hating sauerkraut, but my brother loved it. And we both loved brats so our grandpa would go to great lengths to ensure we had grilled brats - and sauerkraut for Brian - whenever we came over. I still picture him with a winter coat out slaving over the grill just because he loved us that much and wanted us to eat that for dinner.

Fast forward twenty years... my husband introduced me to a recipe that makes me like it! Crazy! :-) You put a can of sauerkraut in the crock pot with a bunch of bratwurst, cook them for dinner, and eat them over mashed potatoes!

Tonight, that was the plan. I realized halfway through the crockpot's cooking time that we didn't have 'tatoes. What I did instead was based on a recipe from Karen Hurd's Bean Queen cookbook. I sauteed onion and garlic because every good recipe should start with sauteed onion and garlic (in butter). I added baby bella mushrooms; I thought they would add a nice earthiness. After that had cooked a while, I added two cans of great northern beans. I let them cook a while, and then mushed them up with a potato masher and added pepper and salt.

Overall, not too shabby of a potato replacement! The strong flavors of the sauerkraut and then brats dominated the dish, so it might need some tweaking if it stood on its own as a side dish, but if you are avoiding potatoes and want a potato-like dish, you may want to try it! :-)


just another day in the life...

So it's a little too chilly to go outside. That means it's time to put on the thinker cap and figure out how to keep Brayden entertained at home. :-)

As some of you have seen on FB, here are some recent ways we've done so....


taking family selfies... (or just "self" selfies if you're Brayden)


playing with cornstarch, water, and food coloring


playing in the sink


Today, I decided it would be a grand idea to make cookies with him. We could bake a batch and then freeze the rest of the cookie dough in premade balls. That went pretty good, although he was very anxious to pour in the oatmeal, which wasn't called for until the end. By the time I had gotten to pouring in the oatmeal, he was much too preoccupied with the raisins and dried cherries I was adding in and wanting to pour those in... and of course, eat them! 

So after we poured the raisins and oatmeal in, we were ready to put the dough on the cookie sheets, but Brayden's plan was different than mine. After he put up a fit when I put the raisins away, I decided I didn't want to fight that battle and I wanted to continue enjoying making the cookies... so he sat there eating raisins while I loaded up the cookie sheets. Then, out of the blue, he decided to try a cookie dough ball... then I had to explain to him one cookie dough ball was enough.... 

Well, the cookies are in the oven now and Brayden is eating a half a PB&J sandwich before the cookies are done. 

I do love living with a two-year-old. They always keep you on your toes! Such an adventure! :-) 






Saturday, March 15, 2014

two months in!

After two months of learning the ins and outs of our newest one, Jase, I think we're finally settling into a bit of a schedule. A bunch of out-of-routine things happened in those two months, including my father-in-law having a stroke/aneurysm-type episode that brought him close to death. Thankfully, he is a walking testimony--the words I heard while praying the night of the episode--and is making a close to full recovery. (We are believing for 100% recovery!)

Jase just started officially sleeping through the night (the 6-7 hour stretch) earlier this week, which is fantastic! Overall, he has been a good sleeper at night and a fast eater, so I feel like I have been less tired overall than I was with Brayden. (yay!)

Jase is a fabulous eater and is growing very quickly. He is either close to off the charts or off the charts in his height, weight, and head size. At his two month check up, the little chart from the doc said that a well-nourished two-year-old should be 3-4 lbs. above their birth weight. That would put Jase at close to 12-13 lbs. and 10 ounces. He's 15 lbs. and 2 ounces. Length? Most his age are 1-2 inches longer than birth. He was 22 inches at birth... 23 inches at 2.5 weeks and 25 inches at 2 months! Definitely growing! :-) Most people think he's already three months old, maybe older! It's been interesting to figure out what clothes fit him.

I've gotten lots of questions about how Brayden is doing with Jase, and he is doing very well. Save for the occasional times where he doesn't want to share attention, he loves his brother, is intrigued by him, and is very proud of him. In fact, if you walked through the door right now, he would eagerly point to Jase and make sure you got a good look at his little brother.  I am very proud of Brayden as he is adjusting to having Jase around! I can tell they will be good buddies as they get older. Yay!

Well, all for now. Hopefully, I'll write more soon.






Saturday, March 8, 2014

happy anniversary to my lovie!

Dear Erik, 

Just think...


  • Eight weeks ago we met this little guy...



      ...who has plenty of facial expressions... and this is a favorite we've captured so far.



  • Two years and eight weeks ago we met this little guy...


    ...who became this bigger little guy

    ...who daily keeps us entertained with his expressions, noises, smiles, laughs, and bits of mischief that he gets into (although the picture below was planned mischief!). 


  •    Three and a half years ago, we met our first born and even though he's up in heaven with Jesus, his memory will always be part of our family.


  • Almost five years ago, we met this furry creature, who has been by our side through thick and thin...

  •      ...and provided us with lots of laughs and good memories.

  • Along the way, we have done a lot of baking...


    
    ...a lot of cooking...




  ...a lot of traveling...


     ...a lot of fishing...


 .... taken lots of pictures.




 ....laughed...



   ....cried....

   ...and done a whole lot of other fantastic things. 


The best part of all...

  • Five years ago, we were here...

    ...getting married....




  ....pledging to do exactly what we've done... 


 

... be with each other through thick and thin, sickness and health, good and bad, loving the Lord and each other through it all. 

Lovie, here's to like a gajillion more years hanging out, living life, loving Jesus with you. 

All my love.

Happy anniversary. :-)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

my three sons

Last summer, we knew it could be a possibility. Brayden's due date was 1-23-12 and baby #3 was due 1-20-14. It was clear that they could share a birthday.

To have it become a reality six months later is definitely surreal, especially since I went into Brayden's birthday feeling no sign of a baby being born that day. My dad even supplied a countdown for me - early afternoon he said, "You have about ten hours to have two born on 1/11" ... to which I shrugged and said, "No, it won't happen today." ... and then when he was driving Erik and I to the hospital he declared, "Well, you have about five hours to have a double birthday" ... to which I replied (while I was in labor), "Nah, I don't think this will happen until after midnight." 

Boy, was I wrong. 

:-) 

Jase William Wegener gave the first hint of appearing on his brother Brayden's birthday at 5 p.m. Everyone had been sleeping, which I then took advantage of as I realized my contractions were close together. I quietly finished pulling things together for our overnight bag... and got my makeup on, of course! Last time I forgot my makeup bag in the car, and for some reason, I was set to make sure I had makeup for pictures. Kinda funny, huh? 

By six o'clock, I knew contractions were becoming serious (aka painful!), so I let my mom know plans had changed and they wouldn't be joining the three of us for ice cream for Brayden's birthday... instead, I hoped they could give him a mini celebration that I had planned on. Then I called the doctor, woke up Erik and Brayden, and we headed out. 

To make a long story short, we arrived at the hospital probably between 6:45 and 7 p.m. and Jase William Wegener was born at 8:47 p.m. Yes, it was as surreal and crazy as it sounded; thankfully, as I look back, I see God's peace was in that room, despite the quick decisions the doctors were making to help baby and me stay safe and healthy. Yes, I was one of those people whose labor went too fast for an epidural (kinda never thought I would be!), but I was very grateful that they could switch and give me a different pain med that worked faster and lasted for an hour and a half to two hours.


We are grateful to God for a healthy baby and healthy mom, because we had lots of questionable things happen that could have created much bigger problems. The nurses saw right away when I checked into the hospital that baby had pooped in the amniotic fluid, which could be a sign of the baby being in distress and potentially the cord being wrapped around his/her neck or limb or somewhere (which ended up not being the case). Then I had trouble pushing the baby out, which we later found out was because Jase was such a big baby! He ended up needing to be vacuumed out for his health and mine. Scary in the moment... and also a little later that week as we learned the bruise from the vacuum created extra chance for jaundice for Jase as it broke down and healed. My milk came in a little later than normal because it was a fast delivery, which meant Jase became a little dehydrated as he waited for the milk to come in... all that to say, everyone's prayers came together to cover us through a bit of a crazy delivery and our recovery. Jase is not jaundiced and him and I are both recovering well!



Jase was a huge baby - definitely not the biggest I know of, but big enough! My doctor and nurses all exclaimed at how big he was when he came out...big hands, long toes, big head, thick chest! My doc had actually guessed a 7 lb. baby earlier in the night. When he was born, she said, "You hid the baby's weight well." Jase clocked in at 9 lbs. 10 ounces, 22 inches long and a 14.5 inch head. Yikes! :-) I say I got payback since I was a 9 lb. 12 ounce baby. (Sorry, Mom!)

It's funny looking back because once the baby was safely delivered, Erik and I just broke down in tears of joy and relief... so much so that there wasn't the "It's a boy" or "It's a girl" exclamation I was kinda expecting in my head as the way it would happen. Instead, they placed the baby on my chest, and one of the nurses who was looking right at him (and had been excited we didn't know what we were having) finally said, "Well, can I say what it is?!" And then I was like, oh yeah, we have no idea and really didn't care at the moment because (s)he was safe and healthy! Then I answered her, "Yeah!" She said, "It's a boy!"

It was definitely worth that moment in time finding out what it was. It was perfect, and nothing like I had planned in my head as I pictured that moment of finding out what we were having. And yes, not knowing did help me make it through labor!


Then Erik and I both realized, Brayden just received a wonderful birthday present... a baby brother.

I've always pictured myself with little boys, so I'm kinda thrilled about it, although I know the joys of having a girl would be fantastic as well. And Erik kinda wanted Brayden to have a brother, since he had always wanted a brother himself. Erik has a sister and I have a brother, so to have two kids (make that three including Brody!) the same gender is kinda fun.

Brayden met him the next day and overall loved looking at him. He occasionally gets upset when he has to share his grandmas with Jase, but he's learning it's okay to share. Now at home, he wants to hold Jase quite a lot, and he loves it. He laughs and giggles and is proud and shows him off. Hopefully pictures or video to come of the two of them. I'm proud of Brayden. He'll be a great big brother, and I'm super excited to watch them grow up together!

Now, it's a week later, and I kinda still can't believe the flurry of life that has happened. We're slowly but surely getting on a routine, and have had an amazing amount of support and help from our family and friends. (THANK YOU!) I know we'll need the support a little longer because the newborn stage is a little overwhelming, but now I have a much clearer picture of what comes after the newborn stage, and that makes it all a little more exciting. We know how much joy is to come in watching Jase grow up.

Coming home with baby Jase!

Like I said, pictures of B and J will soon be coming! Thank you again for all your prayers and thoughts and congratulations for our family. Most of all, thank you, Lord, for your blessing of another child! We are very, very grateful and honored. With love, the Wegeners.


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Monday, January 6, 2014

working on patience

So one of the things I've been pondering lately is how patient God is with me. I mess up, time and again, often on the same types of things, yet He still wants me to come to Him and He still gives me multiple times to get it right. I picture Him cheering me on saying, "You can do this!" "Let me help you do this!"

He has incredible patience with me, and I want to learn to give that same type of patience to those around me.

I had an interesting realization though about patience - and I probably have a lot more interesting realizations to come. Patience doesn't mean that you don't get upset or angry or bottleneck your emotions. As I was sitting here looking at Bible verses on patience, the Scripture popped into my head about Jesus going through the temple and throwing out the money changers because they were taking advantage of people who were trying to please God and prepare for Passover. Patience doesn't always call for a lack of response. Sometimes patience demands a response.

One description the Greek word for patience provides is: "In the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings."

So perhaps I need to rethink my definition of patience. Patience isn't necessarily staying calm no matter what,  although it might be in some circumstances. Patience is remaining true to what you believe and acting on those beliefs no matter what comes your way. Jesus adhered to what He believed when He threw over the money changers' tables, when He let Judas betray Him, when He was exasperated with the disciples lack of faith, when He taught the multitudes... the list could go on.

Patience isn't just a demeanor or a persona that we put on. It's staying constant to you and your faith in the middle of difficulty. It's remaining steadfast and persevering through what comes your way.

Speaking of patience, I just finished enduring one particular trying season of my life: low activity so baby could come safely into this world. Baby's not here yet, but the 38 week mark is, which has been one of our goals!




Yay, yay, yay for this part of the waiting and endurance to be done! On to the next stage of waiting... seeing when little Mister or Miss will decide to come!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

let's support the Bible and this Duck Dynasty star!

Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty was just suspended from TV for his comments on homosexuality. The GLAAD community has spoken up and made this comment: "Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe." I think that last part is a lie about ten to a hundred times more than what Phil Robertson said.

If you agree with me, let's not be silent about this! Christians who agree with me and love the show, email A&E TV at feedbackaetv@aenetworks.com. If you want, here is the email I sent, and you are welcome to use it as a starter for your email. It's not perfect, but it could help you!

Thanks! I'm tired of my beliefs being generalized incorrectly on a nationwide level, and I see this as an opportunity to stand up for what I believe in and support someone who believes as I do!





---


Hello,

I just found out about the suspension of Phil Robertson and I am very disappointed that you did not stand up for one of your stars and their beliefs. I thoroughly agree with and support Phil Robertson in what he said about homosexuality and I know many, many others within the church and Christian community who would agree with me. 

What stands out to me is that Wilson Cruz, the spokesperson for GLAAD, made a statement about Christians that is absolutely wrong, and I completely disagree with, yet no one has disagreed with him--and they should. I know many more people who agree with Phil Robertson's comments than who agree with Wilson Cruz's assumption about what Christians believe. 

I think it's rude that you did not stand behind your TV star and instead ran to the safe side of siding with the LBGT community. To me, it was done out of fear and peer pressure. 

Let Phil be back on Duck Dynasty. He stated his opinion. We do have a right to free speech in this country, and you should support that right. 

Thank you for your time.