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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Memories


Now that I have my own kids I often find myself reflecting on my past 28 Christmas'! I do have to say, I have wonderful past Christmas memories. My mom and family has always done the little things that we often overlook or take for granted to make our Christmas special. We always have wonderful treats that my mom and late mamaw would make.. such as ritz crackers with peanut butter middles and covered in chocolate.. or fudge.. or divinity.. or white chocolate covered pretzels. We are a weird family(I LOVE YALL) but we don't like to have turkey and dressing again for Christmas after just having it for Thanksgiving. So... we always do a theme or just have random homemade things. This year we are having GUMBO! Ohh yes baby! I think about all of the wonderful little yummies that people would bring that have passed away and could kick myself for not asking them how they made it. Such as my mamaws pea salad or my Aunt Deb's bacon wrapped jalapenos. I can always try to re-create them, but its never the same.

Some of my favorite Christmas memories are those involving my parents trickery! I remember one year getting a basketball goal(yes, I used to be slightly athletic, lol). My parents had it set up outside and when we went out, it was there waiting for me! How did they hide that? Or when we were littler, we would always go across the big field(which now as an adult living on the same property, I now see that what I once saw as a "big" field, not being so far and Big) to my Mamaws for Christmas Eve to eat and open gifts. And, while we were over there once SANTA CAME EARLY! My cousin had gone outside and saw reindeer poop(which was just regular dog poppy, lol) and we just knew that he had already came to our house. SO, we ran back across the big field, and sure enough.. he had came! HOW DID I NOT NOTICE MY PARENTS LEAVE AND GO DO THAT? They were good! Or one year(this will show my age), I wanted a pager.. yes.. a pager for Christmas. I never thought I would actually get one. So on Christmas Eve we were all opening gifts and all of a sudden our tree started beeping. And it beeped, and beeped, and no one could figure out what it was. Until I realized DUH Alana, go see. So I peeked into the center of the tree and saw my brand new little green pager! I couldn't believe that my parents had gotten me the newest piece of technology, that was so not like them. I loved it, but how the heck did they put that into the tree without me seeing? And going back and watching that Christmas video, I saw my dad in the kitchen using the house phone to call the pager to page it. How cute and sweet!

I guess the moral of my blogging today is that even though as a parent it sometimes seems pointless to do the little things and often we just tend to overlook them and focus on the bigger picture! But... at Christmas time I am going to make an ongoing effort to focus more on the little things and try my best to instill those small memories in my children so that one day... Maybe Eden and Edison will reflect and remember those and make them appreciate Christmas and all its glory!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Holiday Crafts: Week 1


My Mom and I will be attempting to make these Turkey Shirts for Eden and Edison. I love love love this idea and can't wait to have them done. We will be doing ours a little different though... We are using buttons for the eyes and a fabric piece for the beak. Also, for the legs we are going to use rick-rack and for the red thing under a turkeys beak, we will use a red ribbon looped! :) Edison's will be boy colors and Edens will be girl colors mixed in with fall colors too. I think we have most of the materials already and will be using a lot of remnants and ribbons we have left over from other projects. I will post a how-to blog and vlog about this as soon as we are finished! I am so excited to get started!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The power of a Song

I think the first time I realized the true power of a song to provoke emotion was when I was about 4 months pregnant with Edison and I was driving home from the grocery store. I was listening to the radio, as usual, and a song came on about death of a young girl.. I can't remember the name.. but I had heard it several times with out really listening. I started to listen to the words and then think about my own child and just putting myself into that song... the tears started flowing. Not just crying, full blown boo hooo'ing while driving down the road.. Mascara was everywhere. I, to this day, will not listen to that song. If it comes on, I always change it. Another example of this was about 4 months ago Eden and I were driving home from somewhere rather late at night and a Rascal Flatts song came on "I wont let go" and I was singing away.. I LOVE that song and I hear Eden in the back start crying. I turned the song down and asked her what was wrong and she told me that that song made her feel sad. I asked why and she said because of the words and it made me think about you Mommy.. OHH MY.. I started crying. That touched me that she felt what I felt when I heard that song and she understood her feelings. It was really touching to me. Well, today I was driving to work, fresh face of make-up... very halloween themed I might add due to my pumpkin shirt I was wearing... and a Carrie Underwood song, "Temporary Home" came on. I had again, heard that song tons of times and just sang my heart out with not physically evoking emotion... until today. I started singing and started to think of the words of the song and how it was so very true. This is our temporary home and if I can make it through this life thinking that way and knowing what I can do to serve my God, that everything will be ok. And here they came... TEAR CITY! I often cry when singing songs about my God... frankly.. I often cry a lot for lots of reasons but hey.. thats me! :) But after crying for a good two minutes singing this song.. i just couldn't stop singing of listening.. I realized the person next to me at the MLK red light was staring at me. HA, oh well.. what could I do? I drove on and looking into my mirror... A HOT MESS! And I again start to think really let those words go to my heart and I felt myself getting emotional again and had to stop. I just realized that you really know that you have a wonderful song when it can do that to you. When it can make you put yourself into the song and think of you in those words. Or is can make you cry or smile or laugh at its words. Music is powerful, even to my 8 year old! :)
BTW, I repaired my makeup and no one even knew I cried at work.. whew! :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So behind...

I, which I am aware that this is not normal, worry everyday about getting up to date with our pictures. I take a lot of pictures(when my camera isn't lost) and try to make sure that I have pictures for each month of Edison and Eden's lives. Also, I like to have family pictures taken yearly and frame that and hang in our home. We had those pictures taken in April, and I still do not have that done. THAT DRIVES ME CRAZY! Also, I decided with Edison I would make photo books for him on Shutterfly! I think I will do a pregnancy one and a Edison's birth to 6 month one. Now, the hard part of this all is finding the time. I need to transfer pictures from our old computer onto the new computer and that task alone seems super daunting. I also want to take some fall/winter pictures this year and use one of those for our Christmas card. I always do those super easily by just picking a picture and going onto Walgreens.com and picking a photo card and having walgreens print them and go pick them up. SUPER EASY. I just need to get those pictures taken... AHH! Again, I have no time. I don't want to get really behind on this and I feel pictures are so important. I think I am blogging about this to remind myself frequently to do it. Alana... GET YOUR BOOTY IN GEAR... :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Power of Breakfast



I am a firm believer that eating a healthy breakfast can shape your day. I try each morning to get Eden to eat something healthy and filling.. Such as: whole wheat waffles with honey, any kind of oatmeal, grits, cereal, toast with nutella and peanut butter, yogurt and fruit, or even biscuits with turkey sausage. It really is important to me that she gets to school full and can focus on learning and not about her tummy growling.

I myself need to work on eating breakfast more often. I often find myself eating some yogurt and a peach, or granola bar and a banana. And, more often that not.. just coffee! I can really tell the difference in my work performance when I actually eat something and am not constantly looking at the clock waiting for lunch time or searching for a snack.

Also, Saturday mornings are always hard for us. Wayne always gets home late from a game and we all just want to sleep late but, that usually never ever happens. And once we are all up, we are grouches. But, all I have to do is open the turkey bacon and put it in the pan and my children's and husbands mood totally changes. Bacon is magic, lol! I usually make eggs or my husband will make is AMAZING french toast to go with our magic bacon. Having this wonderfully yummy start to our day really does get us going. Even though on Saturdays we are always just a little slower at doing things, we always have such a better day when we have some yummy in our tummy to start. :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

My "Clumsy" Sunday's

For the past several years my husband has deemed our Sunday's as, "My Clumsy Sunday's"! The reasoning behind that is if something is going to happen to me, if I am going to drop something, if I am going to break something, if I am going to hurt myself.... IT HAPPENS ON SUNDAY! AHHH!

Friday, September 30, 2011

A new addition to our Family...




For a really long time I have wanted a new car that better met the needs of our family. Having a vehicle that only sat 5 people with a car seat and two booster seats in the back seat was just not cutting it. So we have tried for over a year, well since I found out I was pregnant with Edison, and it just wasn't God's will at that time. Well, Wayne decided to surprise me and call our bank and get a pre-approval for a car loan. Once he did that he started searching for me and met me at church Wednesday night and said pick something out... we got pre-approved. I was so excited! :) :) I either wanted a Dodge Journey or a Ford Explorer but needed to find the perfect one! I had seen a few on Kinsel Ford's website and we just needed to find the time to go see them. And see... time is a hard thing to come by in this family. With Wayne working 7 days a week and working 10 + hours a day.. that is a hard thing. But yesterday he went on his off period and test drove a few of the Ford Explorers and I went on my lunch break and and test drove the Dodge Journey! I really didn't like what I test drove and wasn't satisfied but Wayne loved what he drove for me. Without seeing the Explorer or test driving it myself, Wayne called and said that will pay mine off and take off enough money to meet our budget and if we wanted... it was ours then and there! :) I said.. DO it honey! So.. when I got off... I went and dropped off my Trailblazer and picked up my new Explorer! I was so very excited, but bittersweet at the same time. I had had that Trailblazer for 5+ years. I brought Eden to her first day of school in that and we brought Edison home from the hospital in that car.. I was just kind of emotional but knew that it was for the better and this was a good thing! :) I also thank God for this because with out him providing and allowing this to happen, it wouldn't be possible! I love my new car and I love my God.... and I love my family! I am just in a loving mood today.. lol :_)

http://kinselford.com/Beaumont-Houston/For-Sale/Used/Ford/Explorer/2008-Eddie-Bauer-Gray-SUV/2970051/

Here is a link to the Explorer!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Our September Date Night



Let me start off by saying that I still get that giddy feeling when Wayne kisses me or when we get to go on a date just him and I. I was so giddy and excited last night to be able to spend time with him alone! :) We decided for our date that we would go to Saltgrass Steakhouse! We got there and really only had to wait about 30 minutes. We had both never been to the Saltgrass in Beaumont and were really excited to eat there! We ordered the spinach dip for an appetizer! It was ok, not as good as Cheddars.. but.. I am rather partial, lol! For dinner Wayne ordered steak and shrimp and I ordered chicken with goat cheese and a yummy sauce on top! Wayne and I of corse talked about the kids and about upcoming events but it was so nice to be able to finish a sentence with out having to stop and give the kids something. I love talking to my husband. Wayne and I are observers and we always say that we will never be like those people who sit together at a meal and maybe say 5 words to each other. We will never be that way. I talk too much and he makes me laugh a lot. I love us! :) But, when we got our food we did stop conversating.. because our food was AMAZING! I really really loved what Wayne and I ordered. I always love what he orders more and eat half of his food. I have always done that and he just expects it. LOL. I will subsequently order something I know he likes because I can never eat all of my food because I eat his... So he eats mine! :) As we ate we saw them walk around with the dessert tray and were so excited to order a big ole' piece of pecan pie with some vanilla ice cream... until... we thought about going to the Yogurt Spot! I have heard so many good this about it and we decided to go there for dessert! :) :) Once we got there there are about 8 to 10 flavors of yogurt that you help yourself to. You can put them all of you want lol. After you choose your flavor( I got cheesecake and caramel and Wayne got strawberry and peach) you pick your toppings. I chose strawberries and heath bar! It was kinda pricy but very, very yummy! There were lots and lots of teenagers there, even some of Wayne's students, so we ate and left... too much drama with them lol! We then headed to Target for a few things and ended up getting Edison's new car seat. The Graco My Ride 65. It is a big purchase for us and I have done lots or research and was very excited to finally get it! :) All in all it was such a wonderful, special time with my hubby. He works 7 days a week so anytime that I get to spend with him that I am not falling asleep during is such a gift! :) Thank you Mamaw for watching out babies so we could go on our wonderful date night! I LOVE YOU WAYNE, you still give me butterflies... even after 9 years!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A beautiful surprise...

I love it when you get something that is totally unexpected and no matter how small that gesture or item may be, it makes everything right in the world. :)

Today at around 2, a women walks in with flowers and I just knew. I just knew that they were for me! My whole body smiled as I accepted them and read the note he wrote me:

"Because I love you"
Love,
Hank



And the reason is signed it "Hank" is because it is a joke with us because everyone calls him that when they can't remember his name is Wayne, lol! But, I was very humbled by this gift and love that he thought enough of his wife today to send her something to, once again, take her breath away and remind her how much I she is completely head-over-heals in love with that man!

I LOVE YOU WAYNE and thank you for choosing me! :) :) :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Loss

I do not deal well with loss. I don't like to think about it and when the situation arises I find myself turning into a different person. I turn into someone who is super sensitive, very productive, and overly sympathetic. Which is my state today!

My Aunt was diagnosed with cancer all over her little body just over a month and a half ago, and today, as I type... She is loosing her battle with that cancer. She isn't expected to live more than 24 more hours. I went and saw her last night and we knew that it wouldn't be long. She is hurting all over and it makes me, more than ever, wish I could so something to help find a cure for cancer. Cancer is something that is affecting my family so, so often and is slowly taking members of my family away. This all was so fast for my Aunt.. It feels as though she just found out. I find myself not being able to go to the hospital right now for two reasons. One, no baby sitter, and two I cant stop looking at her son(my cousin) and putting myself in his position and thinking about my children seeing me this way before I pass. It just crumbles me to think about that. I can't even imagine what he is thinking or feeling. And then I think.. what am I going to do when I lose a parent? This is all a bit overwhelming to me and when I am overwhelmed, I write.

Here is a picture of her at my bridal shower! :) She's the one standing!



I love my Aunt and her memory will forever be etched in my heart for so many reasons. I thank God for her and all she has done for me thruought my life. I hope she goes knowing she was very loved and will be so so so very missed!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where I was...



On this day 10 years ago, it started like most others. I got up, got ready, and went to school. I was a senior in high school and had my whole, unknown life, ahead of me. My first period class was Mrs.Sherrod's government class. We were taking a quiz that day and were almost finished when our principle came on the loud speaker and told everyone that there was an apparent attack on the U.S. and for the teachers to turn on their T.V.'s in the rooms so we could see what was going on. As a senior in high school, you can't fully comprehend the extensive toll this would take on our Country, but we knew this was serious. We sat and watched the 1st tower smoking and saw on live T.V. when the 2nd tower was hit with another plane. I then started to think to myself of all of the things that could go wrong from this. All of the lives lost and those that will be effected by this attack. I was so worried that something would happen to us and felt a need to call my Mom. We couldn't call and that was before everyone had cell phones. I sort of felt alone and even at that age wanted my parent with me. I also worried about my Dad who worked at an oil plant because they are sometimes thought to be targets to terrorist attacks.

As the morning went on we got to watch T.V. in each class. We would change classes and talk about what was going on and then watch the news coverage. For most of the students, this was a break from the everyday schedule that we were all used to. Others took it differently due to family members either being in NY or one of the other effected areas, or that their family member is in the military and feared that they would be deployed. I had no one that I knew that was directly effected by all of this, but was very worried for my own safety. When I was younger I really didn't like history. I was learning about things that I wasn't around to see and really didn't care too much to learn about, immature I know. It was my least favorite subject, but when something like this happens it really makes you stop and re-ascess your feeling on our U.S. History. Being married to a History teacher has really changed me now. I find myself wanting to know more and more about history and am constantly asking Wayne questions. He, to me, knows everything and that is so amazing to me! I LOVE HIM!

This attack on our country has effected so much and as the years have gone by has changed more than we could have ever predicted. The loss of life isn't comprehendable to me but saddens me so deeply. Today, 10 years later, I sit with my husband and two children and watch children and family members read the names of lives lost and tears are streaming down my face. My life has changed so much in 10 years and to see children that were babies when this happened are now 10 years older and to think that their family member or parent has missed them growing up is numbing. Those children are so brave and are amazing to me. I pray for them a lot. I also pray that something of this magnitude will never happen to our country again! I will never forget where I was when this happened and the U.S. will never forget 9/11 and the lives that were lost.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Little Things...

I love the little things in life that are just special to you and make you so very happy! Here are a few of mine:
*Starbucks
*My husbands hands
*A great book
*A fall day
*My Christmas Tree
*The smell of coffee in the morning.. It lets me know that it is the start of a new day and that anything is possible.. even if I am assuring myself of that due to a cup of coffee lol
*A good pen
*A friends text
*A compliment from a stranger
*Make-up
*Going to the grocery store alone
*Wearing my favorite shirt
*Curling my hair
*Buying a magazine
*Making my Mom laugh
*God answering a prayer of mine
*My Son's eyelashes
*My Daughter's Feet

And, Last but not least... My chair.. You know... the chair in your house that you always go to to relax. And, even though it really isn't YOUR chair, you claim it and when others sit in it you are secretly so mad and jealous!

I know some of these things may seem silly to you, but some of these little things get me through my day. They promise me of something safe and comfortable to come, or something fun and challenging for me! It also reminds me to stop and appreciate the little things and realize that you don't need a lot to be happy.. Just YOUR little things! :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A dream/goal I will fulfill...



Over the past few years my heart has really been heavy on what I am supposed to be, career wise, for the rest of my life? I always just assumed I would do something dental long term, but wasn't sure!! I really didn't have to think much about this but, I instantly knew that if I could be anything what it would be. I would be an RN! I really have a passion and drive for this profession. For example, we were at Sears yesterday and an elderly women tripped over something and was possibly severely injured. I instantly went into professional mode and helped her because the staff at Sears just stood there.. and did nothing. She ended up being fine, just a few scrapes, but her daughter thanked me more times than I can count and told me that she felt God put me there at the right time to help that situation. Wow, what an impact it had on me and I have been thinking about this seriously ever since.

There are a lot of things in my way to prevent this from happening, but it will happen one day. To start this process I will be starting my pre-reqs(which I had taken a lot already, but it has been to long since I took them and have to start over) at night in January! I will need to go to Lamar and get a lot more info, but it is a start. :) I know I can do this and I know this is the direction my life is supposed to go. It may take my longer than most, but my first priority is serving God and taking care of my family.. and this goal will all just fall into place, I pray! If anyone has any info on what path to take to getting this degree while working and having a family, please email me! Alana09199@gmail.com

Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire. ~Arnold H. Glasow

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. ~Henry Ford

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Feeling Cheated...

You know the feeling when you know that your opportunity to do something wonderful is over? That you will never be able to experience something again? Well, I feel that way. After a visit to my OB last week, we discussed future children and labor and delivery and if the occasion was to ever arise and I was pretty much told that I would never be able to deliver a child vaginally again. I would always have to have a c-section from here on out. WHAT? VBAC's are common aren't they? Well, giving my history and the positioning of my children, Dr. Long doesn't want to chance it and will only do section births now. I really feel cheated. I felt that way after having Edison, and I feel that way again. I want to experience labor and birth. HECK yes it hurts, but the outcome is amazing. Our bodies are meant to do this, and now my chances are over to experience one of the most wonderful miracles that women go through. I just cried and cried after he told me that. I don't know.. it just hit me very hard. I don't know for sure if Wayne and I will have anymore children, but if we did, having a c-section, in my opinion, takes a lot of the "fun" out of the experience. Takes away the anticipation of labor, takes away the unknown, and adds the worry of surgery, well.. at least for me. I really just can't express my feelings well about this.. I just feel cheated. And feel that even though that precious child will be the outcome, everyone deserves to have the birth that they want, and I can't ever have that. BOOOOO!

On a side note, I still love my Dr.! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Eden Lost her 3rd Tooth & Is Starting 2nd Grade

Last Friday, August 12th, Eden and I were cleaning a clients house(she was "helping" me) and she came and told me she had a loose tooth! News to me, I didn't even know. She hadn't mentioned it before! In the past, pulling teeth with her has been a challenge so I wasn't very optimistic about this one either! But, to my surprise I said OK Eden, lets just get it out.. and........ She said OK... here a napkin, pull it out Mom! WHAT? So, I just knew she was going to run away screaming when I actually tried, but she opened wide and I grabbed her tooth and twisted/pulled all at once! It was out just like that! No fuss or tears, just a little bleeding! She was so proud just as if she had pulled it herself! I love how mature she is becoming about some things. Ohh what a year will do for a child! :)



It is really starting to hit me that Eden will start SECOND grade GT on Monday! I know she is growing up because she is all the way up to my shoulder almost in height, but just thinking back on when she started kindergarten, it seems like yesterday! She has really grown to become such a wonderful daughter, friend, sister, and granddaughter! I pray each day for her to have a productive year and to do well in school. I also hope that she continues to grow her friendships she has made last year. This will be the 2nd year she is in a class with the same kids so I know long term friendships are being made. I hope she learns to cherish those! Her teacher will be Mrs. Robicheau and she was my sisters teacher a long time ago, so I am really happy about that! She goes for meet the teacher on Thursday, and I will miss it due to work, but that's OK.. Mamaw is going! :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Tree Disaster...

How can everything change with just one tree?
Last week on Monday August 1st, Wayne, the baby, and myself were sitting in the living room having Subway (Eden was staying the night at mamaw's) for dinner and it happened! What sounded like a train driving into our home turned out to be the neighbors tree falling onto the side of our house! Wayne and I immediately ran outside to see what had happened and there it was, a dead, HUGE tree laying down on the left side. Destroyed our air conditioner and electrical on that side. We had several limbs through the roof and minimal structure damage. Whew! No one was hurt. Wayne then called 911, just in case! :) Then, due to the fact that it was so loud, several people were running down the road t words us and stopping their cars and getting out. And, by the grace of God, a fire fighter stopped and got out just in time. The electrical box on the side of our house caught on fire. I then started to panic. What were going to do? AH, Water hose... but before I could even do this, all while holding Edison, the fire fighter grabbed a fire extinguisher from his car and put the fire out. Then, after the initial madness wore off, reality set in. Where were we going to live? Do I need to call my insurance? Is this their fault? It was their tree after all. I called my mom, like most people do in a panic situation and told her to come straight over. By this time, mosquitoes are eating us alive and the police and fire department are there. The police were just taking a report of insurance purposes and the fire department were making sure nothing was wrong from the small electrical fire. With no power and it getting dark I started to realize I probably needed to go inside and get everything out of the fridge and freezer, that would soon stink. And then pack a few things up, we were going to stay at my Moms! After cleaning and packing, because I couldn't leave my house dirty, we left and went to my moms. I quickly wrote everything down we had in our fridge freezer and got everyone ready for bed. I was mentally and physically exhausted. Here are a few pictures of the damage:





The next day all seems a blur! Insurance stuff is not my cup of Joe, but I had to do it and Wayne helped me too...All while at work! I had told them, so they understood and worked with me to go and take/make phone calls. There couldn't have been a worse person's tree to have fallen on our house. He at first told us he had insurance on the property and everything would be fine. Then, after a few calls, realizes, Hey, I don't have any insurance on that property. OMG! So after Wayne calling and nearly loosing his mind talking to him, he calls back and states that he does have liability at least! Well, ok! So for the next few days we waited and checked into a hotel in the town we live in. It is nice and had been great to have somewhere to go to at night! :)

Over the next few days we went back and forth calling insurances and trying to figure out what to do next. I finally just said lets call a contractor. We weren't going to have to, but our builder was way over on his bid and insurance didn't want to pay that. So, I called Glen Stanley, with Glens Custom Homes here in Vidor. He is the nicest guy and has really gone above and beyond during all of this. That day he sent a bid over and our insurance accepted and they started getting things going. FINALLY, some progress! Within two days the work was over halfway through and there were plans for everything else. I was and still am so very happy with Glen and his work. Really the most difficult thing during all of this was dealing with Entergy and Time Warner Cable. They are a joke when it comes to customer service, WHOLE different blog post, LOL! :)

As of today, August 14th, we are back in the house. Not everything is done. There is still cleanup, painting, and some electrical work to be done, but I was so ready to be home I came anyways. On a sad note, my stove and washer don't seem to be working. The electrician seems to think they got shorted out when the wires were pulled and it caused a small power surge. UGH! I love my stove and washer! Hopefully, insurance will pay for us new ones, or at least pay to have these fixed if they can be! So, that is a jumbled up story of how one tree can change so much! The End! :)
P.S. Pictures of repaired home to come soon!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan

For Sunday lunch today we had eggplant Parmesan with eggplant fresh from the Farmers Market! It was so so so good and pretty good for you too, generally speaking! :) Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:
3-5 Med/Large Eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/4" thick slices
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
3 cups Marinara or spaghetti sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt/pepper
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tbsp basil
2 cups seasoned flour

(Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees)You will need to peel and slice your eggplant prior to starting this process.


First, beat your eggs and milk together and set aside. Then dip your eggplant slices in the egg mixture and then flour and fry them until golden brown. Drain them and set aside on a paper towel.


Also, add your garlic, salt/pepper, parsley, and basil to your tomato sauce of choice and set aside. Spray your baking dish with Pam and put a little bit of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Layer eggplant, cheese, several shakes of Parmesan, and tomato sauce until you run out! Usually makes about 3 layers. Bake for about 30 minutes and add more mozzarella and Parmesan to the top to melt.

This dish is so yummy and makes a lot for not a lot of money! Enjoy!
This is a picture of it in the oven with my squash casserole!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Football Season, Here we come.. & Farmers Market

I am not sure if I mentioned this before but my husband lost his job due to cut-backs at Silsbee ISD. We knew it would be a long summer of him apply for jobs, going on interviews, and waiting for a call back. Well, the whole month of June went by with no leads and secretly I started to worry. That was my main deciding factor for me going back to work. I was worried he wouldn't find and job and we had to have an income of some sorts. But, July comes around and Waynes friend Clint calls him and tells him he is the new head coach for Kelly High School AND, they are hiring a Social Studies teacher with coaching. PERFECT, sign me up he said, lol! There was obviously steps to the hiring process that was long and drawn out, but we knew that Clint would be able to get Wayne on. Wayne will be coaching varsity football and baseball this season. I am so excited to go to his games and cheer them on. I love football and it bring back memories of being in high school on the Drill Team and spending my Friday nights at football games! YAY! This will be so wonderful for our family but also a big sacrifice for Wayne. He starts 2 a day practices this Monday with the kids!Being a teacher alone requires a lot of time away from your family, but when you add coaching it is a lot more. He will have is regular school day, practice, and then have a game Friday night, AND then have the kids come up Saturday morning and watch film from their game and prepare for next weeks game. It is a lot, but Wayne truely loves what he does and I support him in every way! Go Kelly Bulldogs! :)




And, I have been searching for a CSA(Community Supported Agriculture) pick up here in southeast Texas and there isn't one. If you don't know what that is, it is farms that grow fruits and veggies and package what they harvest and sell it to you weekly and you go pick it up. They usually have a variety of things and is well worth the money! So, the alternative, since we don't have that here,(closest is in Houston)is going to the Beaumont Farmers market on Saturday Morning. We have always wanted to go to this but never want to get up, but we really need to support our local farmers and fresh fruits and veggies are the best! We plan on going Saturday morning and I will blog and post pictures when we get back!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Negativity



I usually don't say the word HATE a lot, but I really hate negativity. I hate when people can't just be happy for others, or see the good in others instead of always seeing the bad. People make mistakes and learn from them and God gives forgiveness for mistakes, I know that. Do you? I blog about things that come straight from my heart. These are true emotions and things that I feel and want to say, but prefer to write about them. I would prefer if you have a NEGATIVE comment about me, my family, or anything I have supposedly done to you, please keep that to your self. Yes, It may be your opinion which you are rightfully entitled to, but I don't care to see, read, or hear about it. I am who I am and if you don't like me or my family, I don't care. I didn't make this blog for others to read it and criticize my actions! All I can say is you need prayer if you think it is ok to come onto my blog and make comments that are absolutely false and tell me that MY feelings and emotions are a lie.. REALLY?? They are my feelings and emotions.. I didn't know that MY feelings and emotions were any of your business! UH! I am sorry to those of you who read my blog and have positive things to say about me or my family, this wasn't directed to you. It was directed to those who are coward enough to post ANONYMOUS comments and think I don't know who they are from.. come on.. I am not stupid!

I enjoy blogging and I enjoy having a way to document my feelings and words and I will continue to do that. But, as far as allowing negativity to effect me, it doesn't it only makes me realize that there are so many people in this world that need God and that as a CHRISTIAN, I am not doing my part enough to spread his word and make people realize that when you put GOD 1st, negativity will fade away! Sorry.. that's my first rant! Have a great day everyone! :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Step-Daughter: Allie Nicole Hanks



After telling everyone our story, I wanted to fill in some of the blanks that I didn't elaborate on or go into in that post. First Edition of this will be about my step-daughter Allie! Allie came into this world on May 2, 2006! She was born while Wayne was married to his ex-wife Jamie! I am not going to lie, I was really shocked when Wayne and Jamie said they were having a baby. I don't really know why but a part of me always wanted Wayne to just have children with me.. CRAZY, I know.. since we weren't even married at the time and I was married to someone else! ANYWAY... I never saw Allie when she was small because her mother didn't really think I should, rightfully so! But she was precious. I felt she looked a lot like Wayne, apposed to Eden who looked like me! But as time went on she grew and Wayne and Allie's mom ended up divorcing and then Wayne and I got back together. At the time Allie was 1 1/2! Going into the relationship I welcomed her into my life with open arms and was happy to get to be a part of her life. I never really thought of how it would be to be a step-parent or thought I would ever be one. I never thought I would get the chance to be with Wayne again... but I was excited because I love anything that is a product of my sweet and handsome husband! :) It was hard at first. She didn't know me or wasn't used to my parenting and when Allie was little she was a very routine child. She did the same things at the same times and at that time I really wasn't like that(I am now but never saw myself to be this way. I feel you have to be with multiple children). It was very hard for both of us to get used to each other. We even still struggle with that a lot presently! Allie was always a little behind on her developmental and speech skills so Wayne and I worked with her a lot to get caught up. Allie is not a dainty child to say the least, she definitely takes after her daddy! :) She is a totally opposite child to Eden. Eden is long and lanky and Allis is short and stubby, but it is so very cute! I remember seeing pictures of her as a baby and she had roll after roll and saying I wanted a baby like that. Well.. Who knew but I have one now! :) Anyway, Allie is a very strong willed and stubborn child. She has most certainly has tested my patients over the years, like most children. Allie is a great little and big sister. She loves Eden and Edison and shows her love so cute. She isn't a lovey dovey person, but does it in her own way. We thought she might be jealous of her new brother but she has done better than Eden, lol! I have grown to love her and care for her as if she was my own flesh and blood. I wish we saw her more.. I think she thrives in our family environment and needs to be around that more often. As she grows and I get to "know" her more and more I see so much of Wayne in her and that makes me smile. Even though Wayne and Allie's mom aren't together, Wayne and I try to make her feel like she was and is wanted and that she is loved, often more than our own kids when she is here because we don't get to see her much. We just want her to feel her life is just as "normal" as everyone elses! I thank God for Allie being in my life. She, as a 5 year old, has taught me a lot about myself and a lot about life in general. She shows me that Love is a powerful thing. When you show it to someone and they love you back, its heart melting. I know Allie loves me and she knows that I love her. I can't wait to watch her grow up. Wayne and I often talk about out girls' weddings or future boyfriends and we cringe, but are so happy to be parents to them and welcome all of those fun girl things. Well, I know I do.. I have lived it and can't wait to do it all with them! :) I love you Allie Lou!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Story of Wayne and I...

I get this question so much... How did you and Wayne meet? What's if your story? So.. I decided to make a blog post about it! Don't judge! :)

Wayne and I went to high school together. We didn't really know each other, we had met a few times just because it was a smaller school but we didn't hang out. But, I thought he was hot! He he! After high school I had been working at Mexican food restaurant and Wayne started working there too. We would flirt and would talk occasionally but nothing beyond that. We were both seeing other people at the time! One day we had break together and talked about our boyfriend and girlfriend and the problems we were having. But, still.. I felt really no connection to him except as a friend. Then one night when leaving work he hugged me bye and just his arms around me felt so right.. I know that's corny, but that's how I felt! From that point on we talked on the phone and went on our 1st date in Sept. 2002, after that day I KNEW he was the "one"! We were dating for 4 months when I found out we were expecting a baby! We were in shock but knew that everything happens for a reason and that God had a plan for us. Wayne and I were both still in college and made minimum wage at our jobs and were not in a position to get married or live together. So 9 months later, we welcomed 7 lb 9oz Eden into the world Sept. 19, 2003! We stayed together and raised Eden until she was about 10 months old and we decided to break up.Wow.. I was 100% devastated. I couldn't function! This was not how is was supposed to happen. I was supposed to be with this man forever. We would raise our daughter and get married after Wayne graduated college. Wayne just wasn't mature enough for all of this!

Months went on and we were civil for Eden, but I just always felt there was still something there between us. We both ended up marrying other people in 2006! Only a year into out marriages, we both found ourselves going through divorces. Again, a shocker for me! Naturally during the process we turned to each other and quickly realized that there was something still there between us. We began seeing each other daily and talking more and more, we really missed each other. In Jan. 2008 we got back together after being apart for 5 years! It was like we fell in love all over again and we both knew instantly that this was right. That this was how our lives should be. We were soul mates. We got engaged on April 10, 2009 and married April 17, 2010! We always knew we would have more children and found out we were expecting on June 22, 2010! Edison Jack Hanks was born on March 8, 2011. The journey to where we are now has been a very long and challenging one, but I followed my heart and know that God put Wayne in my life for forever. He is my dream come true and what I prayed for in a husband. I thank you God for giving me Wayne as my spouse and for giving us two beautiful children! God blessed the broken road, that let me straight to you, Even though it took 8 years! :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Good things come to those who wait...

As a continual way to help my family save money, I have been buying things second hand. I have been going to a lot of garage sales, re-sale shops, and buying only on clearance if at all possible. The saving is amazing! :) But, Edison is getting older and we are needing more and more to stimulate him and I had been looking for a Jumperoo forever! But, I didn't just want any one jumperoo... I wanted the Fisher-Price Rainforest one! I literally have been looking for a used one since he was about 3 weeks old! The reason for that specific one is that there is a orange monkey on the rainforest things that Edison loves! He stares, laugh's, smiles, and grabs at it so much. If he is upset and I show him that monkey, he will calm down and smile so big. So, subsequently I have been getting the rainforest things for him ever since! I was just having no luck at all with the jumperoo! The ones I found were nasty or missing things or people wanted WAY too much for them! So.. I began searching online to just buy a new one! After looking for almost 3 months I was ready to give up! I found them new online for about $80 because they do not sell them in stores anymore! I just couldn't see paying that much plus shipping for something he wont use too to much! So, I tried one more thing... I posted an add on southeasttexas.com(and facebook), in the baby item section, saying that I was looking for this specific item. After a few days I had someone text me saying they had one that was perfect condition and they would sell it for $30.00.. YAYYYY! SUCCESS! We went and picked it up yesterday from a sweet couple in Nederland and I brought it home and cleaned it! It really didn't need to be cleaned, it was in perfect condition, but I am weird like that! :) After cleaning it, we put him in it and he went straight for the monkey.. HA.. I knew it! :) He really loves it and it really keeps him occupied when I have something I need to do! Moral of my long story is that I wanted something really bad(and all you mother's know when you want something for your child, it is so hard to not just go buy it immediately) for Edison and wish a lot of patience and willing to compromise, I got what I wanted for him for WAY less money! Now.. the adorable pictures of him in his new toy:





Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Edison is 4 Months Old



Edison at his 4 month check up weighed 17.3 lbs and was 25 inches long! He was perfectly healthy and got 3 shots at his appointment! He amazes me each day at the things he does like rolling from tummy to back and almost back to tummy! He grabs everything and brings it to his mouth and takes his pacifier out and puts it back in.. a lot of the time backwards and we are working on sitting on his own! He does it for a second but then bows himself backwards. I really cant believe I have a 4 month old. These 4 months have flown by! As I sat on the floor of his room this afternoon going through clothes that don't fit him I almost cried. I longed to have a baby so bad and now that he is here, he isn't staying my baby for long. I love our quiet times together at night when I am rocking him after his last feeding. He stares at me and "talks". His way of talking is to make a gargling noise and then squeaking, it is really precious! But when he's alone and trying to go to sleep in his bed he just talks and talks. I love him. I also love how we can put him in his bed for a nap or bed time and he just goes to sleep. No crying for fussing.. he just falls asleep. I am still in shock over this. LOL! Eden was the same way, I guess I just have independent children.

I went to a wonderful garage sale yesterday that one of my friends was having and got tons of things for Edison! It was like God sent me that knowing what I needed and she had it! I was wanting a shopping cart/high chair cover and hadn't found the perfect one yet and all the ones I did LOVE were crazy expensive! She had one that is the Floppy Seat brand and is wonderful! She also had a baby food storage thingy, sassy feeders, sippy cups, and lots of precious clothes and jammies! I scored majorly and can't thank her enough for letting us come look before she actually had the garage sale this morning! THANK YOU HANNAH! :)

Alana

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Version of Stuffed Bell Peppers

Tonight for dinner we had stuffed bell pepper, one of our favorites! Here's my recipe and how I cook them:

Ingredients:
4 to 6 large bell peppers (any color)
1lb ground beef(turkey or pork would be great too)
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced onion
1 can of red kidney bean or any bean you prefer OR 1 cup of rice
Shredded Sharp cheddar cheese
1 tbs parsley
1 tbs minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Start by cutting your bell peppers in half an cleaning the guts out and place them in a baking dish with sides(it makes them hold in place better). Pre-heat oven to 350. Next, brown your meat and drain it. Then mix your onion, garlic, tomatoes, corn, beans or rice, parsley, and salt and pepper together in a pan and saute until cooked and then add your drained ground meat.
Now stuff your bell peppers with mixture and cover with shredded cheese.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bell peppers are tender!
Eden even loves this and usually ask for seconds! Enjoy! :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Finiding your Niche

Lots of people have their niche in life. It could be cooking, crafts, sports, or even being a doctor.. but have you ever thought.. "What's mine?" I have been thinking a lot lately about that and wondering have I found mine yet? Will I ever find it? What could it be? There are lots of things that I am good at. And there are lots of things that one day I would love to try or I wonder if I would be good at doing. But, I just feel that I haven't found that thing that defines me. That says, Hey.. that's what shes good at or that is what she was sapposed to do. I am not necessarily talking about a job, but a hobby of some sort! I often try new things and quickly count those out, or I try something and am halfway decent at it and wonder.. but never persue it. For example, I am pretty decent at taking pictures and often wonder could I do that and be succesfull at it? Well, succesfull in my eyes anyways! Or sewing?? I love the idea of having a sewing machine and making things I need just the way I like them. But.. who knows! And wedding and event planning.. ohh how fun would that be to do that for fun? I know people do that as a job, but I would love to just be involved and do it for the sheer joy of it. I think a wedding is one of the best days of someones lives and to help make that dream day real would be magical. But, enough dreaming. I just wonder this often and feel others probably do too! Maybe one day I will find my Niche! Or.. have I already? :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dinner Time

Most night I cook dinner but, tonight I just didn't really feel like it. I know, I know.. Mom's don't usually get a night off from those things but, tonight everyone was OK with that! :) Wayne ate random things which is normal lol and Eden had leftovers from Sunday family lunch! Edison had banana's and loved every single bite of it! It takes him about 10 minutes to eat a small jar of food, mostly because he spits most of it out each bite and I have to catch it and re-feed it to him! Ha ha!
On a side note, his Bumbo seat is really really working out great for his feedings. We also have the tray that fits on it and will surely need to get that out soon! :)
And as for me, I had a garden salad with ranch dressing and a vitamin water! It was oh so yummy and refreshing after such a hot day!

Dinner time is usually when Wayne and I get to do most of our talking for the day! And today, like all others, we had lots to talk about! The Casey Anthony verdict! I anxiously found out the verdict while at work today along with some co-workers of mine! We were all at a loss for words, but here is what I feel about it:
Wayne and I have kept an open mind during this whole trial coverage and tried to look at it from all angles. But, no matter what way you look at this case, there is nothing that absolutely incriminates Casey Anthony of this crime and we really don't know what actually happened! And before you think this, I will say it, Yes.. I do believe that she had something to do with her daughters death whether is was directly or indirectly and it was wrong what actions she took after that babies death, but... I feel the prosecution just did a poor job of proving with out a shadow of a doubt that she did this crime. It was very hard for me as a mother to not just look at her in shame, but I didn't. I looked at her as someone who is very troubled and needs prayer. I prayed for her and that sweet baby a lot in the past and will continue to do so! I personally feel that the jury did and didn't do the right thing.. and Wayne agrees! I feel that there was probably someone in that jury room who felt she was guilty and should have spoken up. Then, there would have been a hung jury and the prosecution would have had more time to get more evidence and maybe be able to prove she did have something more to do with her daughters death! But regardless, it's not over for Casey! She will ultimately have to face our God and explain to him what happened! I know that he already knows and has that angel Caylee with him, but she will be held accountable for her actions, no matter how small or big they were! Wayne and I know that it makes us hold our babies just a little tighter each night, with all of this going on. I love our dinner time talks and pray that tomorrow is can be on a more pleasurable topic but.. ya know.. it's the simple things I love about my evenings! Dinner time!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Edison Eats Sweet Potatoes



Since Edison will be 4 months on the 8th we decided to let me try his first baby food today! We just had a relaxed 4th of July here at home and was bored, lol! He has had rice cereal in a bowl mixed with formula before and loved it so I knew he would enjoy this just as much! And, He did! He loved it and ate the whole jar! It was very very very messy but I loved his face the whole time.
He even whimpered a bit when I didn't give him a bite fast enough! He is growing up too too fast but I love seeing him grow and learn and turn into this handsome little boy!

My Adventure In Making Homemade Baby Food

I always said that when I had another baby that I was, for the most part, going to home make my babies baby food and was determined to stick to that! Well, I caved and I am going to do some store bought(organic) for when he goes to Mamaw's while I am working! Edison will be 4 months on the 8th and he is most definitely ready to start solids! I made him my first batch of baby food today with some veggies & fruits I had left from 4th of July cooking! I made blueberry banana, zucchini, and carrots with apples and sweet potatoes! I do plan on making some with some rice cereal in it too to make it thicker once is get's used to these foods.

For the most part it was surprisingly very easy! I had looked at lots and lots of recipe's online and finally realized that everyone makes theirs differently and I was just going to make mine the way I wanted and the consistency I felt was best for my baby! This is what I did:

First, I steamed my veggies! You can steam them however works best for you, I just did it in the microwave with water! I also didn't do anything (steam) to the fruit because they are already so soft. :) Second, After steaming the veggies I put them into the blender on the puree setting with 1/2 cup of water and pureed them! I let it go for about 30 seconds or until no chunks were visible! For the fruits I did the same thing! Third, After pureeing them I put them into small freezer containers so I can later thaw them and give them to Mr. Edison! :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Yummy & Easy Squash Casserole


I have made this several times and change the recipe up occasionally, but this is generally what I do! I also got the original recipe from Paula Dean! Enjoy! :)

Ingredients:
4 to 6 Yellow Squash, cleaned and sliced
1/2 cup diced purple onion
1/2 pkg cream cheese(softened)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs or crumbled Ritz crackers
4 tbs Butter
Vegetable Oil (just enough to barely cover the bottom of your pan)
1 tbs parsley
2 tbs minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Saute the squash in vegetable oil over medium heat until it has broken down, about 10 to 15 minutes. Then drain the squash in a collender.

In a medium size skillet, saute the onion in butter for 5 minutes or until translucent. Remove from pan and mix with squash & other ingredients, except bread/craker crumbs, grated cheese, & parsley. Pour mixture into a greased casserole dish and top with shredded cheese, cracker crumbs, and then parsley. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Chunky Edison Jack is growing up TOO Fast


He is almost 4 months old! WOW! Where has the time gone? I often struggle with clothing the child because he grows out of things before he can wear them at all or more than once. Example: My mom bought him a few new outfits about a month ago, they are 3 to 6 months! He has worn them ONCE, and they no longer fit him! ALL of his PJ's are too small, I must go shopping for some soon. And to just add fuel to my emotional fire.. I was dressing him this morning and without even realizing it I put a 9 MONTH onesie on him and thought How cute is this.. what size it is? WHAT??? 9 MONTHS? I almost passed out! This is going by to too fast and I just want my "Baby" back! He now weighs 16.4 lbs and is 25 1/4 inches long! Holy cow! He has almost doubled his birth weight! Eden doubled her birth weight at 11 months!! Ohh my! I guess boys are just different! He is eating 6 to 7 oz. every 2 to 4 hours! I have to put a scoop of rice cereal or he would eat every 3 hours on the dot. Also, by putting the rice cereal in his bottle it keeps his spitting up to a minimum! :) He is talking a lot, rolling from tummy to back, grabbing things, putting EVERYTHING he grabs in his mouth, and is sitting up with help really good! I am just trying to savor these months because they are going by faster than I ever imagined!
Picture Of Edison at Birth :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Choices

We are all presented with choices in our lives everyday! Some simple like what to eat for lunch, and others harder like what car to buy. But, recently I was faced with a tough decision that not only would affect me, but my husband and children. For over a year now I have been cleaning homes as my job. I loved so much about it and hated so much about it at the same time. The things I loved were that I made my own schedule, I only worked about 4 hours a day, and I made pretty good income. Some things I really didn't like was that clients often canceled, always having to find new clients, and my income wasn't taxed.. I had to do that myself. I always knew that wouldn't be my forever job but it worked for the time being. Well.. after school got out this year I lost 5 clients due to the fact that they were teachers and didn't need me to clean while they were home in the summer. Wow.. that was half of my business and half of my income. This just wasn't going to work. I had to make a choice!

I started looking for jobs in the dental field and started applying for them when I saw one that I felt would fit with my family. After several interviews and having to turn down a job because the hours were crazy, I was about to give up. That month was hard for my family with the income decrease. There were several things we couldn't pay and we prayed so hard for a solution. One morning I checked southeasttexas.com like I did ever morning and there was a new dental job opening. I applied immediately. That same afternoon they called me back for an interview the next day. I was elated. I couldn't believe it. Maybe this was finally it for us. And then the thoughts and feeling started to take over. The rational side of my was like here is your solution to your money woes and financial difficulties.. but the emotional side of me was breaking. I would have to leave my baby. My home would suffer. I wouldn't be able to do things for my family that I was so used to doing. I was torn. That next day I went to the interview and honestly it felt like I was sitting down talking to my friends. Everyone was so awesome and Dr. Scott was the absolute nicest person. I was so happy, I think I found where I wanted to work. They told me due to vacations and what not they may not get back to me for a few weeks, but that they would definitely let me know! Bummer, that usually means no. But I had gotten such a good vibe from them! That afternoon I had a friend over and my phone rang. It was Dr. Scotts office. I GOT THE JOB! Wow.. tears came to my eyes and I was so relieved to be honest. Money had been so tight and now that was going to be ok again. But as I looked over at Edison, I just couldnt bare the thought of missing something. I had had to go through this with missing everything with Eden, I couldn't do this again to another child.

After hours of prayer and soul searching. I made a choice! I made the best choice for our family now. I made a choice that does have it's pro's and con's but it is the Best choice. I chose to take the job! My family needs me to help financially right now and I will do what I have to do. Yes, somethings in my home might get overlooked but I will doing what God lead me to do. Edison will still know his mommy loves him and know later that I did what I had to do to take care of him. Plus, his Mamaw loves to keep him and spoil him. Moral of my story is that a choice may be simple or hard, or good or bad, but whatever you choose is what is right for you and is what God planned for your life. I am so blessed! Thank you God for this opportunity. Two weeks into the job and I adore it and the people I work with. I am so happy and love my choice!
Alana <3

Monday, June 20, 2011

Inspiration



I often find myself getting inspiration from lots of things. Such as: God, Nature, my family, friends, my kids, and small or large gestures of kindness. But, Lately, what I have being most inspired by are people who I really don't even know, or know in real life. I don't know if many of you know this, but I make youtube videos and watch lots and lots of people on youtube daily! I got started doing this back when Wayne and I started trying to conceive Edison. The ladies that I got support from were amazing and it was great to have people to talk to about such a personal topic. Well, due to some nasty people that found out I made videos that I used to be friends with, I stopped making them when we found out we were pregnant and didn't start again till I was half-way through my pregnancy! But, to make a long story short, I started watching several people that truely just captivated me. The way they lived their lives, the meals they cooked, the activities they were so passionate about.. I just was amazed by their lives. I don't want to come across like I am weird or something, but it's hard to explain how someone you don't know can inspire you, but they just do. I saw how they raised their children and grocery shopped. I even saw some of them find out they were pregnant. Wow, often you feel like you know things about them that they don't share with their family and friends as freely. I think a lot of people feel comfortable behind a camera and are able to share things and become more outgoing people on youtube, when in real life they aren't really like that. I have actually meet a few of the ladies I have gotten to know on youtube and they have become great friends. Such a precious gift friends are, even if they aren't in your life daily, I know I could call them and they would be there for me! But, my inspirations from them have been eye opening. First, It has made me value simple things. Such as healthy meals for my family. I pride in that and didn't before watching one awesome mommy! Second, documenting my family through pictures and videos. Those memories are so precious and having them on film is priceless! And third, how important friendships are no matter what form or fashion you obtained them! These people have caused me to add so much to my "TO-DO one day List"!I am constantly inspired by all sorts of things and I often feel silly by how much I challenge myself with so many new things, but it is such a welcomed emotion and act that I try daily to think, "Can I do that?", "What can I do for others?". Rather that deed for others be making a video on how to cook lasagna or a product review for a baby item.. that will help someone obtain knowledge to help them and their families!

Wayne and I recently had a challenging time with paying something and by God's amazing Grace a friend offered to pay it for us. Wow, what an inspiring gesture. When I told her thank you many many times, and told her that I wasn't sure when we could pay her back but we would, she simply told me to pay it forward. That if I ever saw someone in need to please do something nice for them no matter what that need may be! How awesome of an idea! I now think to myself each day, What can or have you done for someone else today? Just like Jesus, I need to put others needs before mine! Example being, my amazing husband today spent 6 hours, yes SIX, cleaning out my moms van! I'm not talking about just a small job, Nooo.. he detailed every inch of that Honda Odyssey! He didn't have to do that for her. We had so much at home to do to prepare for the week and heck, my car is filthy!!! But he took time out of his day to do something that wouldn't mean anything to someone else, but meant so much to her! I am so proud of my husband and the amazing Christian man he is becoming. God is really doing lots of amazing things in my family right now, and for that I am truely humbled. Yes, there is a lot of bad/challenges in the world and in our lives, but the good BY FAR out weighs the bad! And for that, I am truely INSPIRED by so many things, and a lot of them are from people that don't even know it! <3

Friday, June 17, 2011

New routine...

Just when I thought I had gotten my routine normalized after having Edison, I went and got a job! :) I am very excited but extremely apprehinsive as well! Edison is at that age where he is doing something new everyday and the thought of missing that makes me sick. But, my family needs me to work so I am doing it with a smile and loads of optimism.. And coffee too! :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

A new way for me to save...


About 4 months ago Wayne and I were talking and decided we had to do something to start saving some money! We were about to have our 2nd child and the bills would only get more expensive! After seeing the series on TLC "Extreme Couponing" I decided that I would try that. Not to the extreme that they go to, but just to try and save more than half on our grocery bill. I was already pretty great a bargain shopping and saving us money. Our average grocery bill a month was less than $200 bucks, and that was for everything. But, I wanted to cut that in half. Is that even possible?? It is! I do have to say that if you aren't good at this couponing thing.. you will end up spending more each month. Just because you do typically go shopping more and at a few different places and if you don't understand ways to save, you spend a lot more in the long run! You have to know what you are going for, budget for it and get only that! Ok.. here are a list of a few tips to remember when you are first starting:

1. Buy at least 5 newspapers! I personally get 4 Houston Chronicles and 4 Beaumont Enterprises! Note* There are a few times a year there are no coupons in papers and that is typically around holidays! Also, because there are so so many people trying to coupon, papers get sold out QUICKLY on Sunday morning! My hubby goes around 7 am and never has any issues!

2. Save the sales adds. The ones I always save are Walmart, Target, Kroger, Market Basket, HEB, Walgreens, and CVS! These will be key to finding your deals!

3. Get a binder and baseball card holders. I tried couponing with out a binder and its just too messy for me. This helps you organize your coupons and makes them very easily accessible!

4. Set out an allotted amount of time each week to prepare your shopping trips. You will spend more if you don't plan! And, you will spend too much time away from your family if you are constantly trying to clip and prepare! I clip my coupons and update my binder on Sunday afternoons after church. Then, on Sunday too after everyone is in bed, I go through the sale adds, circle what I am needing and what is on sale that I know I have a coupon for. Most grocery store adds are from Wed. to Wed. and stores such as target and walmart and Sunday to Sunday! So make sure and plan accordingly for those sales! On Monday morning I always make my list, match it up with coupons I have, or print ones I need, and that is really all the preparing I do. Sometimes this is altered by new sales that are posted, or I find additional things, but for the most part I do stick to this each week! I do most of my shopping On Monday's and Friday's!

5. Do not buy what you don't need or what you won't need within the next 6 months! This not only takes up product from others who actually need it, but it also makes you spend more money than you have to. That being said, If it something like toothbrushes or BBQ sauce that doesn't go bad and you can get for FREE, use all of your coupons on it! I never have more than 8 of a coupon, so that is the most I typically buy!

6. Always read your coupon carefully and read the stores coupon policy carefully before going shopping! Also, make sure you read the sales add too. For instance, Market Basket may have a great deal on pork chops, but in fine print it will say "With a $10 or more food purchase"! Not such a good deal anymore unless you need other things!

This is just what I do, and it has really saved our family so far. I do love saving us money and am proud when my total goes down. I do have to say, that I am still learning too and I do make mistakes! For instance, yesterday I went to HEB for Miracle Whip, went to check out, and I had read the coupon wrong. It was $1.00 off of 2, not 1! Oopps! Now in my case, I still purchased it because that's all I was getting and we use a lot, But if you were doing a huge haul and this happened, it would mess up your calculations and totals!

<3Alana

Friday, May 27, 2011

Eden's 1st Grade Year


This school year started out with lots of exciting things for Eden(and us too)! First, she got to move into her new house and new room! She did so great decorating and keeping her room clean. And to this day she still takes pride in making her bed and trying to keep her room clean! That's so great to me! Next, she got put into GT classes. I cried when I learned of this news! Every parent knows their children are smart and do the best they can in school, but for someone else to tell you that.. it just makes you so proud. I was nervous about this too because I was in GT in school and I remembered how hard it was and how much parent involvement that it required. But, I was up for it! I wanted to give Eden the best chance she could to succeed educationally! Also, Eden was going to be a big sister! We found out what we were having around 16 weeks and Eden got to be there. Just Wayne, Eden, and I went into the room first and let the ultrasound tech find the private area. Once she found it, We told Eden to go get our family and tell them to come in. Once they all came in, Eden got to be the one who shared the new! "It's a BOY!" We were overcome with emotion and so was she. She wanted a brother so bad. That memory will forever be so special to Wayne and I. She was so proud to get to announce that! :)

Education wise Eden did amazing this year. She read every night and studied daily for test. She made ALL A's all year except for once! But regardless, Wayne and I were so proud of her for that! She truely takes pride in doing good. She really beats herself up when she makes a bad grade! I know she gets that from me, but I always try to tell her that as long as she does her absolute best, Daddy and I will be proud of you. Her teacher and classmates this year were so great! She made some wonderful friends that I hope she gets to stay in class with through school. Also, Mrs. Godeaux was great. Eden loves her and she has been amazing with Eden. Eden wears glasses and so does Mrs. Godeaux. Eden has struggled with keeping up with them and keeping them safe from damage and Mrs. Godeaux had really aided her with that and I can't thank her enough!

Last, Eden's Brother was born 3/8/11! That day was hard for her in so many ways. She had to see mommy go through so much that she didn't understand. She was so compassionate to me through the day though. She would come hold my hand or kiss my cheek through contractions. I often worried about her seeing me in such agony but she handled it great and we had had many many conversations about what would go on the day Edison was born. When the time came for him to come into the world, Eden couldn't be in there, but she waited patiently with my Mom and sister! I only wish I could have been there to see her sweet face the 1st time she saw him. But what I did get to see after recovery, she was amazed! Something so small that came out of mommy that looked like me! :) Shes almost 8, so she understands a lot and is quite scary how she thinks about things and puts them together, but I believe she truely couldn't explain how she felt when she got to hold her brother the first time. She was so happy!

I thank God each day for forever changing my life when he gave Eden to Wayne and I on 9/19/03. She is a remarkable child with so many talents that will take her so far in life. You know, You often do not have your dreams come true, But with her, mine have! She is everything and more that I could ask for in a daughter and I am so proud to be her mommy, forever! <3

Monday, May 23, 2011

Stress!!

Normally when I am stressed I turn to God for his guidance and wisdom! Or.. I talk to my husband and we problem solve to try to take the stress away, whatever it may be. But.. lately.. I have just been keeping it all inside. I mostly feel selfish telling others about my struggles because I know that everyone has problems and fears and are dealing with it too. But, it just gets to a point where I have to let go. And that happened this morning.

I was here with just Edison and he was napping. I starting thinking about things in my head that needed to be paid and done and what all was coming up and just the stresses of life right now and I just started sobbing! The Mom and provider side of me started panicking. I was trying to think of things to sell or do to relive the financial side of my stress and then trying to organize my thoughts onto paper to try and sort it all out and I started sobbing more. I was supposed to go shopping with my Mom this morning which would normally make me so happy.. But the thought of spending precious money right now made me literally sick. And.. if you know me.. when I am stressed.. I clean. I started cleaning.. I cleaned my fridge out top to bottom.. I clean my washer and dryer inside and out.. and then started laundry that really didn't need to be done right away and then I cleaned out the inside of my dishwasher.. I was just going 90 to nothing! I finally stopped for a second a realized.. none of this is going to help with my stress, it was really adding to it.

The only thing that puts me slightly at peace is knowing that God is right here with me. I may not know what the next few months will bring us with my husbands job hunt or the refinancing of our house.. But I do know.. God will be right there with me and holding my hand. God may not be able to give me money or 10 minutes to take a shower.. but he can give me peace and faith. Which I need both so very much! Life is often so stressful it takes over us.. consumes us.. but stopping just for a moment and focusing on Him and what is really most important can wash away that stress in a moment. I sit here now.. calm.. with my washing machine and dishwasher running, looking at my son beside me smiling away at his toys on his bouncer.. and I realize.. All is ok.. and at the end of the day.. I do have what I need. And what I want, well that isn't a priority! Serving my God and taking care of my family.. that is where I am needed and that makes me happy! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Husband...

I love my Husband so very much! He does so much for our family that often goes un-noticed or not acknowledged. But.. Honey.. I do notice and I do appreciate it more than you will ever know! You are a wonderful husband, father, and most important Christian! As a teacher, You are a wonderful role model for your students and I know that they see that and respect you for it! Thank you for my babies. They are such a wonderful gift from God and a constant reminder of our love and amazing marriage! Thank you for marrying me.. It was a long road to that point, but the best feeling ever when I said I DO, forever! Plus. You are the most handsome man I have ever seen. I fall more and more in love with you every single day!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Coupon Madness

Like most people who have been watching the TLC show "Extreme Couponing" we have decided to try to do this. Wayne and I started this past weekend. We got 7 papers and cut out almost 200 coupons.. wow! The hardest part of it is trying to link together the sales with the coupons that you have! Thank GOD there are some wed sites that do this for you.. ahhh! :) It has been hard for us to get started because a lot of the sales, you need coupons that came out in past sales adds and well.. we just started. So.. Hopefully we will get good at this and be able to save more of the money God provides us with! :) I don't plan on going nuts with it.. but if there are good sales on things I don't need or use.. I will get it and donate it or give it to our church to provide it to others in need! I will update more when we go on our 1st coupon saving trip! :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Just unthinkable..

A few months ago I saw on a old friends facebook post to pray for a Vidor couples baby! He had been diagnosed during an ultrasound with anencephaly. It is a condition where the baby doesn't develop most of his skull and brain! This broke my heart.. I was pregnant at the time and couldn't imagine being told something was morbidly wrong with my unborn infant! As time went on, I thought about that family periodically and prayed for God to be with them during all of this. I, of course had Edison and knew that that family would shortly after me, being having their baby! I had done some research and saw that most often that baby doesn't live very long after birth and just couldn't think of what they could be thinking and how they are preparing themselves. Through the wonderful Facebook I learned that they had had baby "Thomas" on 4/29! I rejoiced in the birth, but was deeply saddened by what was emanate for that family and sweet baby! I began to think. Think hard. God.. I know you do things for a reason and I do not question your will, but please try to help that family understand why you chose them for this experience! Help them to see what you were trying to show them, help everyone see! I still don't know why.. and they may not either.. but I know just from seeing all of this unfold from afar.. that God is amazing! He let that tiny angel live for 40 something hours. His parents got to be with him for almost 2 days and most babies with that condition don't live but minutes! Wow.. One of their friends who is a photographer has been there taking pictures through all of that and she posted a slide show of the few days events! It is truely breath taking! I decided, stupidly, to watch it this morning while getting ready for work. Like I said, STUPID! 10 seconds into it I was sobbing uncontrollably.. Here I was looking at my healthy infant laying next to me and felt almost guilty! I can't explain the emotions I felt! After a few short minutes of watching the 10 minute slide show, I had to pause it. ALL of my makeup was in puddles on my keyboard! I had only thought I could imagine their pain.. but seeing their pain through pictures was heartbreaking and unthinkable! I thought about this all day.. It makes me thank God for what I have been given. No matter how small the gift may be to me.. but to someone else.. that small gift could be everything!

Here is a link to the photographers facebook and then from there you can find her slideshow of baby Thomas: http://www.facebook.com/#!/hautephotography