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:

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


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 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! :)


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:

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! :)

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

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


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 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